by RENALDO

FREEPORT, GRAND BAHAMA – The busy recruitment process for Franco Miller Jr came to an end when he committed to the University of Mississippi Rebels.

Miller signed his national letter of intent to join the Rebels’ incoming 2018 class at a special ceremony hosted yesterday on the campus of his alma mater, Tabernacle Baptist Christian Academy.

Miller the 6’3” point guard, chose Ole Miss over his final list of schools – Oklahoma, Minnesota, Oregon, and Towson.

“As a freshman coming in you want to go somewhere that you can make an impact. Ole Miss, they’re in one of the toughest conferences in college basketball, the SEC, and I have a chance to come in as a freshman to start and have the ball in my hand so it impacted my decision,” he said, “I fit in well with the style of play coach Davis runs, when I was there on my visit he showed me a lot of things that I would run and it definitely fits my play style so it all factored into my decision making.”

The Rebels finished 12-20 last season and 5-13 in the SEC in the last year of former coach Andy Kennedy. Kermit Davis was introduced as the Rebels new head coach in March and has quickly recruited a top 50 class for 2018 including KJ Buffen, Blake Hinson and now Miller.

“We definitely think it can be a quick turnaround, we have a lot of good pieces coming in along with the pieces they already have there so we should be pretty good next year. But everything is a process and if it doesn’t work out next year then, of course, we’ll get better and better the year after that,” Miller said.

He became the second Grand Bahama native in as many months to become a member of Rebels basketball after Yolett McPhee-McCuin was introduced as the head coach of the Ole Miss Women’s basketball programme in April.

“She was apart of this too,” he said, “She made Ole Miss feel like home to me I know that I got someone to look out for me and I’m not just there on my own. The coaching staff made me feel comfortable but even if she wasn’t there.”

Last season, Miller traveled north to play at Crestwood Preparatory College in Toronto, Canada. While there, he averaged 25.8 points per game, 6.0 rebounds per game, 5.2 assists per game and 3.3 steals per game. He broke the 40-point threshold twice throughout the year, tallying a game-high 42 points versus Thetford Academy and scoring 40 points against the Toronto Basketball Club. While north of the border, Miller earned first-team All-Canada NPA honors, first team All-CISAA accolades and Universal Hoops First Team All-Canada recognition. His play also earned him a spot in the prestigious Allen Iverson Roundball Classic as well as the Signature All-Canadian Showcase.

“When I left here my game was pretty much developed. When I went there I didn’t really change much,” Miller said, “The only thing I had to get used to was the pace of the game and the adjustment to playing against high-level talent every time you step on the court.”

“We welcome Franco and his wonderful family to Ole Miss,” Davis said. “Franco is a multi-talented guard that is a high-level scorer from a great basketball pedigree. He is really mature and will already have an SEC body when he arrives on campus as a freshman. Franco had an outstanding year at Crestwood that helped him build on the success he achieved at Tabernacle Baptist Academy. He was very fortunate to have been coached at a really high level at both places throughout his entire playing career.”

Miller previously received offers from Hofstra, Montana State, Wyoming, St. Bonaventure and Illinois at Chicago but his meteoric rise in recruitment intensified after he was named to the roster of the Iverson Roundball Classic.

“It was something that shocked me. I was at the point where I don’t know if I want to do this anymore if high majors aren’t calling my phone but there was one day where three high major coaches came to watch us scrimmage and after that the offers just came in – Oklahoma called, Oregon called, Minnesota called, Arizona State called and it was something that just exploded in a couple of days and it was pretty exciting.” Miller said.

At the local level with the Tabernacle Baptist Falcons, Miller had a season filled with accolades highlighted when he was named as the Most Valuable Player of the 34th Annual Hugh Campbell Basketball Classic. His 27 points led the Falcons to a 58-52 win over the CI Gibson Rattlers. He also led the Falcons to a Grand Bahama Secondary Schools Sports Association (GBSSSA) senior boys’ title and finished as runners-up in the second annual Bahamas National High School Basketball Championships.

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