Dequon Miller of Motlow State averaged 20.9 points per game this season, leading all scorers in Region VII of the Tennessee Community College Athletics Association. He still found time to dish out 7.0 assists per game to rank second in the TCCAA and top-10 nationally in that category. Miller also recorded 3.1 rebounds and 1.9 steals per contest for Motlow, located in Lynchburg.
That kind of scoring ability should appeal to the Vols, who project to lose four of their top five 2013-14 scorers. Jordan McRae (18.7 points per game), Jeronne Maymon (9.7) and Antonio Barton (7.5) are seniors, and junior Jarnell Stokes (15.1) is expected to declare for the NBA Draft. The only player among Tennessee's top five scorers certain to return for 2014-15 is junior wing Josh Richardson, who averaged 10.3 points per game this season.
Miller shot 47.8 percent from the field, 43.6 percent from 3-point range and 82.9 percent from the foul line this season. He scored a season-high 33 points against Chattanooga State on Feb. 1 and posted a season-best 13 assists against Lindsey Wilson on Nov. 26. He made 51 consecutive free throws at one stretch and, counting the playoffs, scored at least 21 points in each of Motlow's final 12 games.
Given the Vols' need for offensive punch, they seemingly could use a guy like Miller.
"They've reached out," Motlow head coach Matt Sligh told InsideTennessee. "They came and saw him play near the end of our season."
Sligh said he didn't hear from Vol coaches during their run to the Sweet 16 but he was eager to see "how they move forward" once their participation in The Dance ended.
Originally from Charleston, W. Va., Miller enrolled at Motlow last fall while waiting for what Sligh called "a situation with the NCAA to be clarified." That issue reportedly has been resolved, so Miller should be free to sign a Div. I scholarship in April, with three years of eligibility remaining.
The junior college coach described Miller as a "5-foot-10, 180-pounder with a boxer's (muscular) body," adding: "He's a scoring point guard but he sees the floor and runs transition very well. He plays unselfishly. Typically, guys who lead a region in scoring take a lot of shots and force some shots but he doesn't.
"He's a dynamic player who can create his own shot. He also creates looks for guys in the post and on the perimeter."
Tennessee returns a scholarship point guard for 2013-14 but 6-foot-5 freshman Darius Thompson struggled at times against ultra-quick opponents. Miller has no such problem.
"Dequon is very quick," Sligh said. "You're not going to find very many people that can stay with him."
The coach added that Miller has "deep range" as a scorer and "really elevates on his 3-point shot. He shoots from the top of his jump, and he can get up. He can dunk."
Sligh's first year at Motlow produced a 14-14 record that might have been a lot worse without Dequon Miller.
"I took the job in late July and it was a late-built roster," the coach said, "but we were able to have a solid year, and he had a lot to do with that. He's a smaller guard but he's a fearless competitor who plays with outstanding heart. He's a winner who really works. He's in the gym all the time. He wants to win, and his desire to win is clear when you watch him."
What Tennessee likes about Miller, Sligh said, is "the same thing most schools like about him: He's a dynamic player who can score the ball. Most point guards are good at scoring or setting up others to score. He can do both, which is rare."
The coach said Miller is getting interest "from high-major programs all over the map," including much of the SEC, plus schools from the Big Ten, Pac 12, ACC and Missouri Valley Conference.
Although Tennessee occasionally scores in transition, the Vols get most of their points from their halfcourt offense. Miller reportedly is equally comfortable playing either pace.
"We tried to push the ball but we had some depth issues as the year went on, so we didn't run as much later in the season," Sligh said. "Still, we were hard to guard with him running the offense, so we scored a lot of points out of our halfcourt offense."
As the season wore on most Motlow opponents assigned two players to guard Miller.
"Usually, teams put two people on him," Sligh said. "If they ran one at him he'd score. If not, he'd find somebody open. He's hard to guard. You can't stay with him and you can't back off or he'll shoot the 3."
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