REPEAT AFTER ME: Miller Named SoCon Player of the Year And Defensive Player of the Year
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Isaiah Miller is proof that when talent and determination combine, you get a winner.
Miller earned the highest honors from the Southern Conference when its postseason awards were announced Wednesday afternoon. Miller was named the Southern Conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season.
Miller is the only SoCon men’s basketball student-athlete in the 100-year history of the conference to be named Player of the Year and Defensive Player of The Year in consecutive seasons. A UNCG student-athlete has been named Defensive Player of the Year in four straight years. James Dickey, III earned the honor in 2018 before Miller’s recent monopoly on the award.
He is the second player in SoCon history to be named Defensive Player of the Year in three consecutive seasons, joining Chattanooga’s Justin Tuoyo with that distinction.
“Being named Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year is something special,” Miller said. “I am honored. It’s something I have always worked for and I feel like my hard work has paid off. I am most proud of accepting growth and being coachable during my time here.
This is latest item for the affable Miller in a portfolio of amazing accomplishments.
In helping UNCG win its first regular season championship since 2018, Miller was a consistent force throughout the season with his slashing offense, relentless defense, and highlight-film dunks.
“This is a great accomplishment,” UNCG head men’s basketball coach Wes Miller said. “It’s very difficult to repeat as Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. I’m extremely impressed with the way he managed such lofty expectations. He also continued to improve, yet again, from one year to the next. This speaks directly to his humble nature, character, work ethic and the cohesiveness and effectiveness of his teammates.”
Miller enters this weekend’s Ingles SoCon Basketball Championship presented by General Shale Brick as the league leader in steals per game (2.6) and ranks in the top-10 in five other categories – scoring (18.9, 2nd), assists per game (3.9, 7th), rebounds per game (6.7, 8th), field goal percentage (46.2%, 10th) and defensive rebounds per game (7.2, 7th).
Nationally, Miller is seventh in steals per game and second in overall thefts (61), third in field goals made (203) and 13th in total points (473).
In addition to helping UNCG to 96 victories, Miller has scored 1,883 points and recorded 307 steals in his career. He is the second player in Southern Conference history to surpass 300 career steals.
He had three double-doubles, three buzzer-beating baskets, scored at least 30 points twice this season, and reached double figures in scoring 25 times.
Among some of Miller’s top efforts this season was a 30-point, 12-rebound effort in a home victory over The Citadel on Jan. 18. As UNCG erased a double-digit deficit in a road triumph over Wofford, he finished with 15 points, a career-best 13 rebounds, eight assists, and four steals. Miller also enjoyed a trio of 24-point performances.
Miller closed the regular season with a flourish, pouring in a career-high 32 points in an 85-74 overtime road win over ETSU. He added seven rebounds, seven assists, four steals and a blocked shot while going 13-for-19 (.684) from the floor on the day with seven of his points in the decisive extra period.
The effort against ETSU, which included a windmill dunk with UNCG trailing by two points in the second half, buzzer-beating jumper at halftime, reverse layup in overtime, and a banked in 3-pointer in overtime, was perhaps, Miller’s brightest night of his glistening career.
This past week Miller was named the Lou Henson National Mid-Major Player of the Week and the Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week presented by Geico.
In addition to being named the 2020-21 SoCon Preseason Player of the Year, Miller earned a spot on the Wade Houston All-Tournament Team, a season-opening multi-team event played in Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center.
He was named ESPN.com’s Myron Metcalf’s Mid-Major Preseason Player of the Year, a Stadium Preseason All-American, the Blue Ribbon magazine SoCon Player of the Year, and to the CBB Review Second Team Preseason Mid-Major All-American. Miller was one of five Southern Conference players named to the Lou Henson Award midseason watch list.
“My teammates have been there every step of the way for me,” Miller said. “They helped me get better in practice so I can transition that over to the game. I can’t thank them enough for helping me to be in this position. I owe all my teammates, coaches and managers a lot.”
NOTES: UNCG’s Isaiah Miller is the first player to win multiple player of the year honors from the coaches since Davidson’s De’Mon Brooks in 2011-12 and 2013-14. Miller is the first to win them consecutively from the coaches since Davidson’s Stephen Curry in 2007-08 and 2008-09 … Miller’s back-to-back selections as the media’s Malcolm U. Pitt Player of the Year follow Wofford’s Fletcher Magee consecutive selections in 2017-18 and 2018-19 … Miller is UNCG’s first player to be named the player of the year twice … The coaches and media both placed Miller, The Citadel’s Hayden Brown, ETSU’s Ledarrius Brewer and Wofford’s Storm Murphy on their all-conference first teams … Miller has earned first-team honors in three consecutive seasons.