When it was time for Malcolm McMillan to pick a high school, the Harford County resident considered John Carroll's tradition and Patriots coach Tony Martin's penchant for producing Division I players.
When Martin met McMillan at John Carroll's basketball camp for eighth-graders, he saw a "tough, physical" player that had all the makings of a future DI prospect.
On Saturday night, the Division I expectations of McMillan and Martin were met. McMillan, now a 6-foot, 185-pound senior point guard, committed to Central Connecticut State on a visit to the school over the weekend. He chose the Blue Devils over Arkansas Pine-Bluff, Mount St. Mary's, St. Francis (Pa.) and UNC-Wilmington.
"[The team is] always together and they're like a family. They made me feel right at home," McMillan said. "I had a great time with the guys. My host was Shemik Thompson. He did a great job showing me around. They work hard, and their main focus is defense and rebounding."McMillan, who averaged 17 points, three rebounds, two assists and 1.5 steals as a junior, joins a Central Connecticut program which finished 12-18 last season but won seven of its last 11 games. McMillan should have a solid chance at earning playing time as a freshman.
"They said minutes are available depending on how hard I work," McMillan said. "They just told me to keep working hard, keep being vocal, develop my leadership [skills] and be a defensive stopper."
Martin, who's preparing for the Patriots' first season of Baltimore Catholic League play, has coached 10 players at John Carroll in the past five years who have been offered at least one DI scholarship. McMillan has been one of the best.
"I've had coaches say he's a high-major player physically," Martin said. "[Central Connecticut] is getting a quality student-athlete. I think he's going to enjoy the college experience. Malcolm could've dragged it out and probably gotten a high-major offer when it was all said and done. But I think he's going to a good school that's going to care for him. And I think he's going to be a big piece of the puzzle and potentially be an all-league player."
McMillan, who's considering a major in sports management, said he's looking forward to competing for playing time at Central Connecticut. In the meantime, Martin thinks McMillan will get a heavy dose of tough competition this winter that will help prepare him for college.
"I think Malcolm understands that he has the opportunity with the kind of game experience he has to step up and be absolutely dominant on a regular basis," Martin said. "We're going to go as far as his effort and talent takes us. When you have a senior backcourt, that's a special advantage for any team wanting to go deep in the playoffs. We hope he can take us there."
Photo of Malcolm McMillan courtesy of John Carroll.