Just wanted to give a shout out to Miles, our man in the middle.
Has any player on the team improved as much as did Miles??
I always thought Scheyer was awesome and I never doubted that Nolan would make the leap that he did this year.
But Miles? The improvement from last season to this season is beastly: from 1.8 points and 1.4 rebounds to 8.1 points and 6.6 rebounds in less than 20 minutes of play per game. Wow.
The media and even some here on the board talk at length about Mason's potential without saying much about Miles. While I agree that Mason has probably the most upside of any player on the team (he looked so good in the Wake Forest game), I still have to give mad props to Miles who's getting it done for us. And the really cool thing is that he's just getting started -- Miles is going to be an even better player by the end of the season.
What a steal this guy has been. If his high school class was re-ranked again no way would he be in the 80s and 90s. Mobile, athletic big man that can rebound, block, defend dunk and make put backs? Check!
Agreed, he is playing with amazing determination too. You can see it on his face after he grabs a rebound, he is going up and he is going up strong.
thanks for getting that song stuck in my head.
The biggest improvement in Miles is being able to score after contact. If you look at Hansbrough- most of his damage was down low- a few feet from the basket- with guys hanging on him and powering up. Hansbrough was very strong- and understood how to use his strength. Miles is much stronger this year and could get stronger yet. He is muscling through contact and using his tremendous explosiveness. Miles is also hitting his throws and that is key. If he does that consistently- he could easily be a 12-15 pt per game scorer. Strength is incredibly important for big guys and Miles is one of those guys who has the ability to get stronger not just bigger. If he develops a little hook or simple jump shot from a few feet- to go along with his power dunks and lay-ins- watch out. Mason is a different player and may be able to create his shot better than his brother- thus a bigger upside. But having both guys play at a high level has made Duke a different team this year. Teams will not be able to ignore the inside.
By the toughness (or Singler) measure, Miles has certainly made a tremendous leap and I think his continued development is crucial to this team's success in the Spring.
Props to Nate and Wojo for developing Miles at such a tremendous rate and to Miles himself for the dedication in the weight room and in general. Quite a treat for a guy who wasn't even expected to be here up until right before his first Fall semester...
That said, props to Miles. He certainly has improved and is a reliable presence down low (I'm not sure about a force down low. One game doesn't dictate a season. If it did, Jerome James's contract would be justified). I really hope Miles continues his development and becomes that 'force' that we all want and need him to be.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. - Winston Churchill
President of the "Nolan Smith Should Have His Jersey in The Rafters" Club
Miles jump is huge this year. My guess is that having Mason on board has also given him some additional level of comfort having his brother there and also a extra level of competiveness amongst brothers. It's refreshing to see two athletic frontcourt players with the skills to match be on this teams, again a combo we seem to have been missing (i.e. Sanders crazy athletic wheras Z has skills but not the athleticism for example) or that never truly developed (i.e. McBob). And the scary thing is that they are both under classmen with room to grow both physically and skill wise.
I agree. Mason and Miles complement eachother very well and you can tell they have a certain level of comfort with eachother on the court.I had no doubt that Miles would make a jump in productivity, but 19 and 14 I did not think for a second. Not that he'll average these numbers or anything, but he continues to play himself into a bonafide ACC big man. I still think that Nolan's jump is better because he is top 5 in the ACC in scoring I don't think any of us expected that. At this rate, Nolan could join Scheyer in the ACC 1st team. We shall see though.
Well this thread wasn't supposed to be about Miles vs. Nolan or whatever, but more just about Miles.
While Nolan may have made a bigger leap in absolute terms of points scored, I'd argue Miles' growth has been the most important to the team. We always knew our Big 3 will be good on the perimeter; the biggest potential flaw was our post offense/defense. Recall how much angst there was in the preseason about how many points and rebounds our committee of big men can contribute.
Miles is a big part of that answer with his improvements in points scored, rebounds, blocks and interior defense.