Matt Miller thought he could play Division I basketball coming out of high school, and the Mount St. Joseph guard did have his fair share of DI inquiries.
But when none of those interested colleges offered him a scholarship, Miller packed his bags for Greensburg, Pa., where for two years he suited up for Division II Seton Hill.
After averaging 16.3 points for the Griffins as a freshman and a team-high 20.1 points as a sophomore, the former Gaels star decided to try his luck at the DI level once again. This time around, several schools stepped forward with offers. On Tuesday, Miller accepted a scholarship from New Hampshire.
“It feels good, for sure,” said Miller, who also considered offers from Northern Kentucky andUNC-Asheville. “It was exciting. I was definitely happy.”
Said UNH coach Bill Herrion in a news release: "We're really happy to have Matt. We looked at him a few years ago out of high school, but at that time it didn't work out. Now he has two years of Division II basketball under his belt. He's bigger and stronger, and the strength of his game is that he is a terrific perimeter shooter. Sitting out a year will allow him to get physically stronger and will help his game."
Coming out of Mount St. Joseph, Miller was the quintessential under-the-radar recruit. He was a lights-off shooter, but a late bloomer who was 5 feet 7, 150 pounds as a junior. Miller tore his ACL heading into his senior year and didn’t play a minute, but ended up staying back for a fifth year of high school.
Despite a strong finale at Mount St. Joseph, Miller received just a smattering of interest from Bucknell, Holy Cross, New Hampshire, Radford and Vermont.
At Seton Hill, Miller quickly proved that he belonged at the DII – if not DI – level. He was the team’s second-leading scorer as a freshman, and during the 2011-12 season he shot 50 percent from the field and nearly 45 percent from 3-point range.
“Probably like the end of the school year [I decided to transfer],” Miller said. “I just thought it was time to try new things and explore opportunities.”
Tim Miller, an AAU coach with Maryland 3D, put the word out that his son was looking to transfer. If a low- or mid-major college coach called Tim about one of his 3D players, Tim would mention that Matt was on the market.
“My dad helped me a lot,” Miller said. “More than probably most people. I had a few other people help me out. My dad was kind of the [leader].”
Miller, who will sit out the 2012-13 season and have two years of eligibility remaining after that, was almost immediately impressed by New Hampshire. The Durham, N.H., campus was a definite selling point, as was the coaching staff’s plans for Miller as a junior.
“I should play,” he said. “They have a couple seniors in there now that are guards. While I’m sitting out, hopefully I can practice with the team and kind of get in there.”
Two years after every Division I school in the country passed on Miller, the Mount St. Joseph grad said he’s grateful for the chance to finally have his shot at basketball’s highest level.
“It’s definitely going to be hard, but you’ve just got to keep working,” he said. “I just hope to get stronger, get in there with the team and just keep working out and getting better and get going next year.”