MISSOULA — The Montana men’s basketball team has rounded out its 13 scholarships with the addition of NCAA Division II transfer Tony Miller.
A 6-foot-7, 210-pound guard/forward, he committed to the Griz on Tuesday night via Twitter. The Seattle Pacific transfer made a visit to Montana on June 5, was recruited “hard” by all four coaches and plans to be on campus near the end of August.
“I committed to Montana because I really see myself fitting in perfectly to coach (Travis) DeCuire’s playing style and I felt the desire the staff had for me to go there on a personal level,” Miller told 406mtsports.com. “Going where you feel wanted is very important in the recruiting process, and the team made me feel like exactly that.”
He added, about his visit: “What stood out is how much they expressed to me how wanted and needed I was there. The coaches and players all made me feel welcomed and at home. It just felt like the right place for me.”
Miller will come in as a junior and will have to sit out a season because of transfer rules. He’ll have two years of eligibility after that and could potentially have a third if his future medical waiver goes through after he had season-ending shoulder surgery in January.
“What I think I’ll add is a shooting threat and someone who will bring a lot of energy and leadership,” he offered. “I am also a big rebounder so that is something I will definitely focus on. I can guard positions 1-4 and can score at all three levels meaning 3’s, midrange shots or taking it to the rim.”
Miller said the coaches see him potentially playing as a shooting guard, small forward or power forward. At Seattle Pacific, he split time between small forward, power forward and center.
He feels he fits in DeCuire’s system because of his ability to play in the post and on the wing.
“I know he likes stretch 4’s, and I know I can do that,” Miller said. “He believes I would be a mismatch nightmare, and I agree.”
Miller was named the Freshman of the Year in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, the same league in which Montana State-Billings plays. He led the team with 19 points and 9.7 rebounds, and shot 35.5 percent on 3-pointers in 27 games.
The Woodinville, Washington, native followed that up with a similar start to his sophomore year. He averaged 18 points, 6.2 rebounds and 37.0 percent beyond the arc in 12 games, although he didn’t play as much in the post as he did his first year, he said.
However, he had a season-ending shoulder injury in early January, suffering a partial labrum tear that required surgery at the end of January, he said.
“I’ll be able to start playing again six months after surgery,” Miller said. “I can shoot around right now, but it’s feeling stronger every day. If I were to be eligible this year, I would be good to play.”
His goals for this coming season on the bench include getting down DeCuire's system, improving in the weight room and making sure his teammates are prepared for the opponents through practice.
When Miller can finally take the court, the Division II transfer has big plans at the Division I level.
“I want to prove that I can play with the best of them,” he said.
He added: “I can’t wait to get on campus and get the opportunity to play in front of the great Montana community. More championship banners are to come in Dahlberg Arena.”
Miller's addition completes the Grizzlies' class of 2018, which includes Mack Anderson from Bozeman, Eddy Egun from California, Oregon State transfer Kendal Manuel from Billings, Ben Carter from Australia and Freddy Brown III from Seattle, who is on an academic scholarship and doesn't count against the limit of 13 basketball scholarships.