Men's Basketball Home

Dequon Miller commits to Missouri State

March 23, 2015
by Zach Birdsong
, Tullahoma News

Heading into his collegiate career, Dequon Miller found himself with no offers to play basketball anywhere.

Dequon Miller
That changed when Matt Sligh, who had just been hired as Motlow's coach, called during the summer of 2013.

Fast forward two years and the letters kept piling up for the Bucks point guard, as he made a name for himself on the court. After his freshman season in 2014, Miller was named an All-American, only the 10th in school history, and was touted as one of the premier junior college point guards in the nation.

After electing to stay at Motlow for his sophomore season, the question then became where would Miller sign once the Bucks' season concluded. After teasing his decision on social media for some time Miller cleared things up when he verbally committed to Missouri State University on Tuesday evening. He will officially sign on April 15.

His decision comes after several mid-major and major colleges had been looking at the 5-foot-10 point guard. Included in those schools were West Virginia, Marquette, Missouri and Tennessee.

Because Miller had been receiving attention from several programs, Missouri State did not start its recruiting process until earlier this month.

"Missouri State came in late and Paul Lusk, the head coach, was recruiting me," Miller said. "They came to me after the Columbia State game, it was Coach [Jermaine] Henderson. He said that they had just lost their 20-point man and they wanted me to be that guy. So the head coach started recruiting me immediately."

This past season, Missouri State racked up an overall record of 11-20, but lost its play-in game to get into the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. The team averaged just 59.7 points per contest and did not have a player who averaged more than 10 points per game.

"He [Coach Lusk] called my phone and said he wanted to do an in-home visit with me," Miller said. "He came down to my house and showed me how he was going to let me play in his offense. He was going to let me get up and down the floor, take shots. He wanted me to score the basketball and get other people involved. Basically, what I did at Motlow, that's what he wanted me to do. Get others involved and score the basketball."

The Bucks saw their 2014-15 season close by way of a 104-95 loss to Columbia State during the TCCAA Tournament in Memphis on March 6. The 23-6 mark that Motlow finished with this year was the seventh-most wins in school history. The record of 28 victories happened during the 2007-08 season and the Bucks have won over 20 games in five of the last eight seasons.

This year's squad was also the highest-scoring team in Motlow history, averaging 95.2 points per contest. The record had previously been held by the school's 1990-91 team, which put up 94.9 points per game.

While this year's Bucks team accomplished a lot, Miller said he was left with a bad taste in his mouth after losing to Columbia State for the second consecutive year in the TCCAA Tournament. After his freshman season, the Bucks lost a 122-121 matchup in double overtime to the Chargers.

Miller said he'll continue to use that as motivation and heads into his Missouri State career hungrier than ever. He's willing to make the strides that he needs to in order to succeed at the next level.

"That still hurts. I'm not going to lie, that hurt because I played my heart out both years," he said. "It didn't end the way I wanted it to, but you've got to move on eventually. Hopefully I can be in the big dance next year or the next two years and try to get an NCAA Championship.

"It makes you hungry. That's why you've got to be in that gym nonstop," he added. "This next year, I know there are going to be some monsters. I've got to be prepared for everything. I've got to start doing stuff that I've never done before. I'll have to come in two hours early before practice putting up shots. Then after we finish practice, putting up more shots and doing a whole of extra stuff. So I'm going to get ready for that and be prepared for all of that stuff."

While looking at where he would go, Miller said his real motivation was finding a school that fit his playing style. He said he leaned on his uncle, Josh "Cookie" Miller for advice. Cookie played at Nebraska before transferring to Miami (Ohio).

"When he got to Nebraska, he didn't really get to play the game that he wanted to play. My biggest thing was to go somewhere where I'm going to fit in. Whether it's high major or mid-major, you've got to go somewhere where it's the best fit for you and what's best for you and your family," he said. "You go somewhere where you are going to make an impact and be special."

With his junior college career wrapped up, Miller will undoubtedly go down as one of the best players to ever don a Bucks jersey, etching his name into the school's record book numerous times.

The sophomore can lay claim to being Motlow's all-time leader in 3-pointers made, knocking down 157 3-balls in his two-year career. The previous mark of 152 was set by John Gales in 1993-95.

Miller also finishes second all-time on the school's assists per game, averaging eight per contest. He is third in all-time assists totaling 440 for his career. Miller's average assists per contest is second only to Larry Mackin's 9.7 per game, which was set in 1972-74. Mackin dished out 584 assists, while Chris Bateman had 476 dimes in 1986-88.

Miller's 19.9 points per contest is fifth all-time in the Motlow history books, but he finishes sixth in total points, 1,097. Tim Fant is the school's scoring leader with 1,551 points, done in 1988-90, and he averaged 26.7 points a game.

Miller also got it done on the defensive end, with 2.2 steals per contest, good enough for sixth all-time at the school. His 123 picks are fifth most at Motlow. Mackin is the school's all-time leader with 153 steals but DeShawn Bowman is Motlow's leader in average, with 2.8 picks per contest in between 2000-02.

Miller said he is grateful for the opportunity to have been a member of the Motlow men's squad.

"I enjoyed my two years out here. It was special and it was a blessing to even be playing out here," he said. "At the end of the two years, it was great. That was my first time ever going over 1,000 points. I got to do that and play for a great head coach. The community showed me love. Everybody did."