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Wes Miller Interview

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
May 26, 2020 4:21 pm

Wes Miller Interview

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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May 26, 2020 4:21 pm

Wes Miller joined The Drive with Josh Graham to give an update on his Spartans, how he handled the Wake Forest job news, and more.

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E-SBN recently published a list of the top 40 college basketball coaches under 40 years old and our next guest topped that list. It's of course UNCG's Wes Miller.

He's with us on Sports Hub Dryad. Coach, first off I hope everybody's safe and we certainly appreciate the time. Secondly, what was your thought when you saw that headline I mentioned? I'm appreciative, but I've always felt funny when you get singled out as a coach for recognition like that because, shoot, it takes an army of people to win a basketball game. I prefer if we got more recognized as a team. I think the only thing it makes me think about is all these guys that have put it on the floor for us over the last decade at UNCG. I think it says a lot more about the success of our program at UNCG than anything else, but I am grateful for that. On that note, you bring in a top 150 player into this recruiting class and you've got talent returning.

Also, you don't have to face that Steve Forbes guy or Mike Young in the SOCON. So, how well do you think things are looking? How well do you think it's set up for this next year? We're certainly excited about what we have returning. Obviously, we lose James Dickey, Kyrene Galloway, Malik Massey and those are significant losses.

All three guys were an integral part of what we've done for the last handful of years. But, we return everybody else. We think the players in our program returning have already shown that they can play massive roles on the good team in college basketball. Obviously, Isaiah is going through the draft process.

If Isaiah Miller returns to school, that's another boost. But, when we feel like just with our returning players, we have a chance to be pretty good and we're really excited about that group. Then, we do have another tremendous recruiting class. I thought last year's recruiting class as a whole may be our best coming through the door that we've had. This year's right there.

It's not even another step forward. Jared Hensley is getting a lot of attention nationally. He plays multiple positions and can really shoot the ball. Kitten Kansas City, the first kid we've ever had, ranked in the top 150 nationally in any major recruiting service. So, we're excited. We're excited about what we have coming back. We're excited about what we have coming in. Listen, I just want to get out and coach basketball again.

Hopefully, we get a chance to start working with them this summer. That's kind of the thought process now. I want to talk about a shift that I've noticed in the last 10 years and the way that coaches have handled their players. A common expression used to be, you've got to drown out the noise and don't follow what's happening on the internet, don't follow what's happening on talk radio like this show here or on television, listening to ESPN or whatever, when it involves your team.

But in recent years, with things being so accessible on social media, there seems to be this understanding that that's just something you have to adapt to now. You've got to tell players how to deal with things that you might read. Of course, you were mentioned with the Wake Forest coaching search and I wonder how you handled that situation because while you might be somebody who can easily drown out what's true and what isn't, your coaches and players are also affected by something that might happen there.

So, how exactly did you handle that when your name was prominently mentioned in a coaching search such as that? Yeah, I think you hit on something that's so much bigger first and that's trying to figure out how to manage this age we're in where people get information from so many different outlets. The phone that I'm on right now has multiple outlets that I can receive information on all throughout the day and I think when we're trying to be on the same page as a group and as an organization, how we communicate and how we manage that is really important. What we do is we just try to be really direct with our players all the time.

Hey, people are going to say things that we can't control. Let's make sure that we have a really open environment. If you're ever concerned about something, if there's ever anything said, if there's ever some kind of elephant in the room, let's bring it up within our locker room and our meetings and let's just air it out and talk about it. We try to have that kind of an open mentality within our program, an open line of communication. I think when things first hit the internet, all my guys just called me and asked me. I think they feel comfortable enough in their parents that I got a lot of calls and we just had really open dialogue about that. Honestly, after Saturday or Sunday when things were hit the internet, we didn't have to talk about it the rest of the week because I think they felt confident where I was with it.

They knew that if they had a question, they could call me directly and I don't have to worry about what's being said on Twitter or Instagram or whatever. It's Wes Miller with us here from UNC Greensboro head basketball coach there, of course. You were talking about hopefully wanting to hit the court sometime soon. What's the latest you've been told by administration there and also what's being dispersed by the Southern Conference? I think the first thing is we don't really know. We're waiting to hear information just like you guys are.

We haven't really been told anything. Listen, the NCAA comes out and says the players can use our facility starting on June 1. But what people don't realize now is that there's so many different dynamics to getting kids back in the gym on campus. We have to stay within state guidelines with coronavirus.

We have to stay within university guidelines, UNC system guidelines. So trying to kind of gather all that information, make sure we're safe, we're staying within that is kind of our process for just letting our kids back in our gym. And then the NCAA hasn't yet come out and said when we can work with our players again, we're hoping July. But to say that I have any information that anybody else has would be false. So there's so many moving parts, but we're hoping that by July our kids are using our gym again and that we're in some fashion we're coaching them.

But some of it's a little bit wishful thinking at the moment, I think. Oh, there's one more thing I wanted to get to on the Wake basketball front. You actually had a ton of battles with Steve Forbes at East Tennessee State. So as somebody who had to prepare for the teams he put on the floor, Coach Miller, what makes him and his teams different from the others you had to face in the Southern Conference the last few years? Yeah, Steve is a terrific basketball coach and just battling with him and, you know, our teams battling his teams, you come to respect those, you know, you've come to respect him so much over the last, you know, three or four or five years.

I think he'll do a tremendous job at Wake Forest. I think when I think about the teams at East Tennessee State, you know, the first thing I think about is how they defend. You know, they play with great effort there. You know, there was always a commitment to defense. They were always one of the best two or three defensive teams in our league, if not the best most years. They rebound the basketball well.

His teams don't turn the ball over. They play with discipline. You know, those are just the initial things that come to mind, but what I really think about is how hard all those damn games were. We just had some absolute battles and, you know, we were fortunate to be on the right side of some of them and we were on the wrong side of quite a few of them, too. But certainly we'll miss those battles moving forward. But his assistant, Jason Shea, got the job there, so I'm sure he'll just kind of keep it going.

But they did a terrific job at East Tennessee State and no doubt in my mind that Steve will do the same type of job at Wake Forest. Usually when we catch up, I usually get an update on what's going on with your former Tar Heel guys and that group text that you have. So I found what Ty said on Instagram. I put it online and then it just blew up talking about Coach Williams and all that.

And you were a teammate with Ty Lawson. So what did you make of that? You know, it's kind of one of those things that we talked about it early with just all these different media outlets now, right?

All the social media. Number one, I'm not judgmental yet. I'm not going to be instantly judgmental. I haven't been in contact with Ty recently. And so I have no idea if he's going through something.

Was that a rash? I mean, people put things on their social media accounts all the time and then regret that. And to my knowledge, he's taken it down since then.

So I think sometimes we try to teach our players this. Be careful what you put up there. Because now it's for the world to see, right?

You don't realize how quickly things can spread. So my initial reaction is I hope Ty's okay. I hope he's not going through something.

I hope he's okay. And then my second reaction is I don't really in my heart believe that's how Ty feels. I never got that sense while he was in school there. I only played with him for a year. He loved North Carolina. He had a great relationship with Coach Williams.

What they did together is incredible. I think he left there on great terms. So I think it's probably a little bit blown out of proportion. And I think for me to have too strong of an opinion or comment on it, I don't really know. I saw what everybody else saw. But it didn't sit right with me and it didn't feel accurate to me. So I hope Ty's okay. I think it's a good lesson on why you just don't post things. You should be more thought out.

But that's how social media can be dangerous. Wes, have you been able to get out much? Hit the golf course?

Anything like that during the pandemic? I have played a little more golf than normal. We've tried to keep working, Josh. We're on Zoom and FaceTime and communicating with our players daily. We meet as a staff every day. It's been a great time to visit over Zoom with other coaches and try to grow and learn.

All this stuff is probably boring to your listeners. But it's been a lot busier for us than I think people realize, even though we're not coaching. But the one thing I have done to get outside is play a little golf. That's probably played more golf in the last two months than I ever would have this time of year otherwise. When I get a chance, I really like to hit the round ball and try to be competitive. But my golf game unfortunately still stinks, which I'm sure anybody that plays golf can relate to that. Could you beat Tom Brady? I didn't actually have a chance.

I was moving from one house to the other this weekend. I didn't have a chance to watch it, but I heard he didn't play well. But somebody said he holed out or something.

Yeah, he had a 150-yard shot that he holed. Yeah, well, I wouldn't mind doing that. Wes, it's just good to hear your voice, man. I'm glad things are going well.

Stay well and we'll catch up sometime soon. Thanks for doing this. Thanks for having us, always. Of course. That's Wes Miller. He's on Twitter, at CoachWesMiller from UNC Greensboro. A lot of interesting stuff to get to with that. Up next, why I gained a lot of respect, strangely, for Tom Brady this weekend. Keep it on the drive.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-12 00:51:48 / 2023-02-12 00:57:05 / 5

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