With the signing of Cowley County Community College guard James Milliken, the Creighton coaching staff has likely put the finishing touch on its recruiting class of 2013.
Milliken picked Creighton over TCU and others after visiting both the Bluejays and Horned Frogs this spring. The combo guard went back and forth between the two finalists, but on Tuesday he realized he wanted to stick with the program that had been recruiting him for longer.
"I just felt like it was a better fit," said the former Jayhawk East Freshman of the Year. "I was more comfortable with the coaching staff and the players here, and they have been with me since the beginning of the season."
According to his coach at Cowley County, Tommy DeSalme, the gifted perimeter scorer should indeed mesh nicely with what the Bluejays been doing offensively.
"The faster the better for him," said DeSalme.
Creighton has successfully played an up-tempo brand of basketball for a strong majority of the past two seasons. The team's ability to do so is due in large part to Doug McDermott's ability to torment defenses, which frequently results in a good look for the two-time All-American, or one of his teammates. Milliken was also glad to hear that he would have the chance to play alongside the best players in college basketball.
"Yeah, it did," Milliken answered when asked if McDermott's decision impacted his. "I felt like it would be good to play with Doug, and that helped a lot."
DeSalme, who watched Milliken score 1,150 points in two seasons as a Tiger, thinks his former star will benefit from not being the point of emphasis for opposing defenses.
"He'll be a great fit for Creighton, playing one year with McDermott too, because there is so much focus on him. For two years, he (Milliken) has had everybody in this league trying to not to let him touch the ball because he's real efficient scoring," said the Cowley County Coach.
Although he's only officially been a Bluejay for a matter of hours, Milliken feels like he already has a decent idea of what he'll be expected to do: score on the perimeter. After all, it has been his job dating well beyond his years at Jordan Matthews High School, in his hometown Siler City, North Carolina. DeSalme described Milliken as someone who was "born to score," and he can do so at the rim or from behind the three-point line, off the dribble or on a catch-and-shoot.
In his freshman season at Cowley County, located in Arkansas City, Kansas, the primary offense was pick-and-roll based, but, as a sophomore, DeSalme employed a "motion" offense. Milliken excelled as the focal point of both, earning back-to-back First Team All-Region honors, a rarity in the Jayhawk East Conference.
"He's a great scorer of the ball in many, many varieties," said DeSalme. "He's made himself a great shooter."
Creighton coach Greg McDermott produced the same words to describe Milliken's talents.
"James is someone that my staff and I feel can score the basketball in a variety of ways. He has been highly successful playing for Tommy DeSalme at Cowley CC, with his team having won 45 games in his two season in Kansas. We feel that his basketball IQ and his character fit perfectly with our returning team as we head into the Big East Conference," McDermott said in a statement released by the team.
With the addition of Milliken, one might say Creighton recruiting class went out with a bang, but a swish may be more fitting.
Milliken Inks with Creighton
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