Player To Watch: Shonn Miller, Cornell
Aside from the 2010 season, which resulted in a Sweet 16 appearance, Cornell basketball has not been on most basketball fans’ radars. This season, while the Big Red may not compete for an Ivy League title, they have one of the league’s best all-around players in Shonn Miller.
Miller, a 6-7 junior forward, averaged 11.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.9 steals last season, all of which were among the top ten in the Ivy League. Not surprisingly, Miller ended up on the All-Ivy League First Team, and got the attention of the conference’s coaches.
In an article for Midmajormindset.com last month, I asked Ivy League coaches which players in the league would be on their ideal team. Miller showed up in nearly every coach’s ballot and received great praise from coaches. One assistant coach said that Miller “affects the game on both ends of the floor with his athleticism like not many can”, and another called him “the most athletic player in the league by far”.
Cornell lost starters Jonathan Gray, Miles Asafo-Adjei and Eitan Chemerinski, as well as key bench player Errick Peck, to graduation. Gray and Peck were Cornell’s second and third leading scorers, respectively (behind only Miller). Their loss means that Miller and shooting guard Nolan Cressler need to take on more of the scoring load, something that the two of them are capable of accomplishing. However, if more players do not step up, this could be a long season in Ithaca.
A lot would need to go right for Cornell to make the NCAA Tournament- the Ivy League is usually a one-bid conference, and it is Harvard’s conference to lose. However, while Harvard’s Siyani Chambers and Wesley Saunders will be the Ivy League players in the national spotlight (and deservedly so), expect Miller to challenge the two of them for Ivy League Player of the Year. He may be relatively anonymous at the moment, but Miller’s first game this season is against Syracuse at the Carrier Dome, which will give him the chance to introduce himself to college basketball fans everywhere.