Tohi is really an unknown commodity to most fans in the Western world as Craig Neal said UNM was the first school to "recruit him", said Coach Craig Neal... A couple of recruiting services say that Tohi also had an offer and was being recruited by St. Mary's.
While it isn't fair to Tohi, Lobo fans can't help but compare him to former Lobo Cameron Bairstow. Both young men came from Oceania with the same sort of International numbers, size, and really unknown abilities to basketball fans. The comparison should really stop there as Cam Bairstow sets the bar, and it is unfair for a young frosh to come out and set the D-I world afire. Remember it took Bairstow the better part of 3 3/4 years and a trip back home to play with the Australian National Team to really get his game going. Good news for Milner-Smith is he is heading back to try and get on the Kiwi National team this June.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Head coach Craig Neal and the University of New Mexico men's basketball program have signed Tohi Smith-Milner to a national letter of intent. Smith-Milner, a 6-foot-9-inch forward, will join the Lobos as a freshman from Auckland, New Zealand.
"We are really excited to have Tohi joining our program," said head coach Craig Neal. "Tohi comes to us with good size at 6-feet-9-inches and 240 pounds. He is a versatile player who can play inside with his size but can also step out and shoot three's. We are fortunate to sign him after being the first program to recruit him. He will join us later this summer after trying out for the New Zealand national team in June."
Smith-Milner comes to the Lobos after a decorated career at Rosmini College where he helped guide the team to a national championship in 2011 while appearing on the all-tournament team. He was also the national tournament MVP in his senior season, which saw him score 49 points and grab 15 rebounds in a game against Rangitoto College.
The forward was a member of New Zealand's U-20 and U-18 national teams and will try out for the full national team in June for the 2014 FIBA World Championships in Spain.
Smith-Milner will join fellow spring signees Jordan Goodman (Harcum College (Pa.)), J.J. N'ganga (Northern Oklahoma College – Tonkawa) in UNM's 2014 recruiting class alongside prep standouts Joe Furstinger (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) and Xavier Adams (Flower Mound, Texas).