by Jamie Shaw and Jeff Bendel
Isaiah Miller has a chance to be this season’s Carsen Edwards, and this is a bold thought as no one else is talking about him as an NBA prospect, YET…Sure you look at the two guards and realize that size and frame is really the only comparison when it comes to play style, however when you take a look at the jump Carsen Edwards took on NBA Draft Boards, we believe that is where you start to draw the comparisons.
After a quick look at NBAdraft.com and you don’t find Isaiah Miller’s name among the 60 projected draft picks. However, a further deep dive into Miller and you get the feeling with his physical and statistical profile that draft status will be soon to change.
For starters, Miller is the reigning Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year. This is impressive as the top half of this league was as good as any mid major league in the country. Look at the years the likes of Wofford, Furman and East Tennessee State had, this league was good, and Miller saved his best for the best. In the conference championship against Wofford, Miller finished 8-9 from the field, with 19 points, 2 steals and 4 rebounds. In fact, against the best 3 teams in the league, He averaged 13.1 points on 45% from the field, 36% from 3, 4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 3.25 steals.
This summer, Miller was among the 25 college guards invited to the CP3 Elite Guard Camp. This is a yearly camp that invites the 25 best guards across the country to compete and learn with and against one another. Numerous NBA scouts were in attendance as well as some of Chris Paul’s NBA friends for the scrimmages. Miller was great during the camp, after which Jamie Shaw of Phenom Hoops wrote, “Expect a big year from UNC-G Isaiah Miller. Think he’s going to jump on draft boards and make noise on that from with his aggressive/explosive game.”
All of this is interesting as Miller was a lightly recruited player as only Miami of Ohio and UMass joined UNC-Greensboro having offered him out of high school. He played his AAU ball with Infinate Skillz out of Georgia and then with Team Loaded NC as an unsigned senior, both progams did a great job, playing in major events.
Looking at Miller’s senior year in high school, he played 7A ball in Georgia and Miller’s winning ways have followed him throughout his playing career. During his senior year in high school he led his Newton High School team (Covington, Ga) to the Georgia AAAAAAA Elite 8 along with a 28-2 record. But that is to be expected with a future NBA draft pick, a player who cares as much about defense as he does about offense. A player who is gifted with a 6’8″ wing span and a 48″ vertical jump on his 6’1″/185 pound body.
By the Stats
It’s quite easy to see the NBA-level appeal with Miller, who has already become somewhat of household name within the Greensboro area. We wrote about him after CP3 Elite Guard Camp, where he was easily one of the top standouts for the college participants.
In terms of physical tools, very few guards at the collegiate level are able to even mimic what Miller possesses. He’s big, strong, and extremely explosive, which is what makes him nearly impossible to keep out of the paint. Right now, it seems like Eric Bledsoe could be his best player comparison, given how similarly they play and utilize their athleticism to control action on both sides of the ball. The only thing separating the two guards in this comparison is Bledsoe’s ability to shoot the ball from three-point range.
That being said, Bledsoe never shot the ball in the NBA as well as he did in college. Which makes Miller’s path much more encouraging, as the NBA is a league full of shooters. However, the two are almost identical in terms of physical makeup; both strong, 6-foot-1 with 6-foot-8 wingspan, but Miller sports a ridiculous 48-inch vertical leap (while Bledsoe has been measured at 40″)—which would put Miller atop the entire NBA.
Miller came out quite favorably when comparing him to other college players over the last ten years. The only stipulations were guards who had a PER of 25 or more, defensive rating of 92 or lower, shot 50% or higher from the field, and averaged at least fifteen points. Miller turned out to be one of only seven with those qualifications. Delon Wright and Evan Turner were the two most noteworthy names on that list, but he could definitely be next.
Not only do the numbers back him up, but Miller has the tools, mentality, and work ethic to carve out a role in the NBA after hearing his name called on draft night.