Suspension Motivates Miller for Season-Opener

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — A suspension from an issue last semester kept junior forward Dane Miller from playing with the Rutgers basketball team in Sunday's exhibition against Rutgers-Newark. Miller is set for Friday's tip-off against Dartmouth, however, and spoke with about coming back from his exhibition suspension.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Rutgers basketball coach wanted to send a message to Dane Miller about missing classes in the spring. Instead of making him run or get up early, Rice suspended the junior for Sunday's exhibition against Rutgers-Newark.

"One thing they really miss is games, so this was from last year," Rice said after the exhibition. "...That's the end [if] he goes to class. We'll see. ... He's well aware of what he did and he hasn't made a mistake all year."

For Miller, consider the message received.

"For me personally, sitting out that game hurt," he said. "Of course I want to be out there with my teammates, even if the game doesn't count. But a decision was made and I'm ready to move on and start our season."

The season starts Friday against Dartmouth at the Louis Brown Athletic Center.

"I can't wait," Miller said. "I didn't get the opportunity to play against Rutgers-Newark, so this is my first work in front of the fans and I can't wait for that. I'm ready to just go out with my teammates and play Rutgers basketball again."

Miller's benching Sunday was disciplinary, but there were also advantages.

Though he would rather be out with his team, he said he learned a lot by watching.

"By sitting out, I got to see the game from a different view," Miller said. "I got to watch how everyone else works together. I saw what kinds of shots they like to take. This way, when I come in, I know where to get people the ball."

Watching a game from the bench, Miller said, made him feel like a coach in some aspects.

"It helped me understand Coach Rice a little better," Miller said. "By being there next to him, I can see what he gets mad at, what he likes and what he wants out of us."

Miller represents one of two scholarship juniors on the young Rutgers roster. With no seniors under scholarship, Miller said he needs to take an active leadership role.

Since missing some classes in the spring, Rice said Miller has not had any issues and will be ready for the season.

Miller, who scored 14 points in last year's opener, cannot wait for Friday night at the RAC.

"I think we're ready to play," he said. "Our offense is playing better than a lot of people probably thought it would be. We have some freshmen that can score. Our defense is getting there and we've been scouting Dartmouth hard. We're ready."

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