Bahamian Tavario Miller led the way for his team, Boca Juniors (15-7), as he notched a double-double in a 72-65 victory in a home game for them over Argentino Junin (8-14) at Estadio Héctor Etchart in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Wednesday.
It was a regular season matchup in Argentina’s top tier basketball league, Liga Nacional de Basquet (LNB).
Post player Miller finished with 18 points and 11 boards in a little over 29 minutes of play. He was cooking from the field as he connected on eight of his nine field goal attempts, shooting 88 percent. He went to the charity stripe twice and converted both attempts.
Miller is number 10 in the league in scoring at 14.2 points per game and sixth in the league in rebounding with 8.3 boards per game. His 0.9 blocks per game is ranked at number nine in the league.
Miller, who grew up in Alligator Bay, Long Island, attributed his big night to his teammates, saying they knew they were going up against a great Argentinian team.
“I know those guys were coming off a big win and we knew they would throw their best punch at us. I just know we had to go out there and play hard and play smart. My teammates found me in areas where I can be effective and make plays,” Miller said.
In addition to his strong performance on the offensive side, Miller also came up huge on the defensive side of the ball, coming away with three blocks and two steals. The 6’ 8” big man said he is rolling right now and is looking to deliver this type of performance on a regular basis.
The Boca Juniors have won two straight games and are winners of six of their last eight. Miller said it is a great feeling to be on the winning side and it attests to the work the team has been putting in to prepare. They are in second place in the South Division and if they keep up this level of play, they can advance to the playoffs. Miller believes his team can make a championship run but he knows that there a lot of games left to be played and a lot has to be done, but he likes their chances.
Miller and his team controlled the first quarter, jumping out to a 24-14 lead on Wednesday night. He recorded his only miss of the night in this quarter, his first shot, a two-point turnaround jump shot with eight minutes left in the opening quarter. The Bahamian got on the scoreboard when he made a hook shot with 3:12 remaining in the opening quarter to put his team up 18-10.
It was a strong second quarter by the Boca Juniors as they outscored their counterparts 20-15 to take a comfortable 44-29 lead at the half.
The former Texas A&M Aggies player did most of his scoring in the second half, making all six of his shots in the paint. One his biggest buckets came with 1:56 remaining in the game with his team hanging on to a close 67-63 lead. It was a layup that forced Argentino to call a timeout as the Boca Juniors regained momentum. Miller’s team then hung on for the win.
The Long Island native said it has been a task playing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are tested weekly,” Miller stated. “We have to go the arena dressed and ready to play because we can’t shower at the arenas or use the locker rooms. It’s all just weird in a sense. The fans here in Argentina go crazy for sports so it’s different not having the fans at the games.”
His focus coming into the season was to be aggressive every night and continue to improve. Last season he played in the same league, but for Quimsa.
“Coming in, there were a lot of questions and doubt about myself – can I perform at this level and be consistent and productive? Last year, I had a different role with coming off the bench and playing spot minutes. Thanks to God this year I’m starting, playing valuable minutes and I’m a key contributor to my team’s success. I think I am proving my worth and showing what I’m capable of doing.”
He said the league is balanced this year with strong local and international players.
Argentina is not Miller’s first international stint since graduating from university in 2017. He has played in Mexico, Norway, Spain and Uruguay, but said playing in La Liga in Argentina has been the toughest.
The 26-year-old is the son of Gregory Miller and Pathrica Bain. He left North Long Island High School in 2009 to play basketball at Houston Wheatley High School in Houston, Texas. Miller said he is humbled as it relates to his progression in his career and in life in general.
“For me it’s a great feeling coming from Long Island being able to go off and achieve a scholarship to school and play basketball at the highest level in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) then having the chance to play professionally. I just hope that I’m shining some light and giving the kids back home a little faith and motivation. I think growing up on the island and the way I was raised keeps me humble, appreciative and motivated. As a matter of fact, up to this day, my mother preaches to me to stay humble and work hard. I understand nobody is going to give you anything in this life, everything you want to achieve is right at your fingertips. It’s on you to go out there and make it happen for yourself,” Miller said.
Miller said he is looking forward to playing for The Bahamas’ Senior Men’s National Basketball Team in the not-too-distant future.