TALLAHASSEE -- Injuries and inexperience have been the underlying forces behind Florida State's failures this season. Yes, there has been a matter of poor floor execution at times, but the issues the Seminoles have had in that respect have largely stemmed from the fact that they have personnel playing that wouldn't normally be.
One of the more important injuries the Seminoles have had to overcome this season is the one that has forced guard Ian Miller to the bikes and benches during practices. A bone bruise on the junior's right foot has caused him to have a less than thrilling third campaign. He's had flashes of success, but not quite the brilliance he had long anticipated.
As far back as Miller's sophomore year of high school, he had grand designs on how his FSU career would go. The main reason he was confident it all would work out: another 10th grader named Okaro White.
For much of the last six years, Miller and White have been their own team within a team. They have known one another for so long now that they know exactly how to play off one another. They anticipate each other well.
As their third regular season in Seminoles uniforms draws to a close this week, the Orlando Sentinel's No. 2 in command in Tallahassee, Brendan Bures, takes this closer look at Miller and White's relationship. Please make sure you check out this strong read.
By Brendan Bures
Orlando Sentinel correspondent
TALLAHASSEE -- When Ian Miller first met Okaro White, he had his doubts.
"No way I’m playing with this dude," Miller thought.
As Miller describes it, White seemed odd, different. He had chin hairs down to his chest. The only thought running through Miller's mind when he laid eyes on his future teammate was, "who is this guy?"
The pair first started playing basketball together when they were in the 10th grade, attending the same high-profile basketball camps across the country. Since they both had declared their intentions to play at Florida State, coaches often placed them on the same team, trying to establish a connection as early as possible.
Slowly, the two hit it off, forming a chemistry that appears to transfer fluidly on or off the court.
About a year-and-a-half before arriving to FSU, during a top-100 camp in Virginia, the pair shared a room. One night during the camp weekend, as they stayed up late, their basketball-playing futures flashed before them.
Into the early-morning hours, they discussed the possibilities that could exist when they would eventually teamup at FSU. They chatted about what it would be like to be teammates; what it might be like to accomplish the lofty goals they set for themselves ... what it would be like to be Seminoles.
"We dreamed about playing here," Miller, a guard, said. "We dreamed about winning the ACC Championship and changing the culture here. And now, we're living it out."
Their dreams transformed into reality when they enrolled at Florida State in 2010 and a year later claimed the throne from the North Carolina elite when they won the school's first ACC championship. For Miller, a Charlotte, N.C. native, the title that came after multiple wins over Duke and UNC was memorable.
During the title run, both were key contributors as White averaged 7.7 points at small forward and 4.4 rebounds while Miller averaged 10.3 points per game.
When they were on the court together, though, the two seemed to operate as one. Even this year, as Miller has battled through a foot injury, they have shown glimpses of the same. They set screens and pass to one another off instinct. Often, they don't even have to look up to find one another on the court. When Miller starts penetrating the defense dribbling with the ball, White knows whether he’s looking to pass or score. The other always seems to know what the other will do and can react to it simultaneously.