Sports

Miller Jr. to play right away for FGCU

Bahamian collegiate guard Franco Miller Jr. does not have to wait until the 2021-2022 season to see action on the court for the Florida Golf Coast University (FGCU) Eagles. It was recently announced that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) granted him a waiver for immediate eligibility to play.

The information was publicized on the FGCU Eagles athletics website. Initially, it was expected that Miller would have to miss the upcoming season because of NCAA rules regarding transfers. He played for the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Rebels last season, and entered the NCAA transfer portal back in March of this year, eventually catching on with FGCU and their Head Coach Michael Fly.

“Having Franco to be immediately eligible is a big boost to our lineup this season and adds another veteran player who has experience in high-level competition,” said Fly. “As a mature player, this announcement helps Franco stay in his basketball timeline without being away from game competition for a year and strengthens our backcourt for the foreseeable future when you look at our roster makeup.”

Miller is coming off a tumultuous season for the Rebels, not seeing much playing time as the Ole Miss Rebels featured a veteran backcourt. He played just 85 minutes last season, with most of his playing time coming against the University of Arkansas Razorbacks when he stepped on the court for 24 minutes. Miller started one game last season, and averaged 0.3 points and 0.5 rebounds per contest.

As a team, the Rebels finished with a 15-17 win/loss record including going 6-12 in conference play. They finished 12th out of 14 teams in a highly competitive Southeastern Conference (SEC).

Miller redshirted his first season, sitting out due to a kneecap fracture.

There were high expectations for the Grand Bahamian heading into his freshman year for the Rebels. He had a stellar senior year at Crestwood Preparatory College in Ontario, Canada, and was looking for a smooth transition to the NCAA. Miller averaged 25.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 3.3 steals per game in his senior year in high school. That year, he scored 40 points in a game twice for Crestwood. For his efforts, the guard was named to the NPA (National Preparatory Association) First Team and the All-CISAA (Conference of Independent Schools Athletics Association) First Team.

The former Tabernacle Baptist Academy star is one of six new additions for Coach Fry and the Eagles. When Miller first chose to play for FGCU, Fly spoke about the versatility of the 6’ 3” guard.

“We are excited to add a student and player of Franco’s caliber to our program. He is an experienced guard who can play the point guard position or slide over to the wing as a scorer,” Fly stated.

FGCU, which became a full NCAA Division I school in 2011, plays in the Atlantic Sun (ASUN) Conference. They appeared in three NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournaments, also known as March Madness, with their latest appearance being in 2017. The Eagles advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in 2013, falling to the University of Florida Gators. That was their best performances ever at the tournament. 

This past season, the Eagles finished with a 10-22 overall record, 7-9 in conference play. They finished sixth out of nine teams.

With the insertion of a healthy and motivated Miller, the Eagles are looking forward to a strong season. The 2020-2021 schedule has not been released as yet.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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