Miller Trying to Be More Selfish

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Unselfishness is an important component to any college basketball player. But when a player as skilled as Dane Miller averages just 4.5 shots per game, sometimes a little more selfishness is needed. Miller did not start against UMBC and spoke one-on-one with after the game about what he hopes to change for Saturday's clash against LSU.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — For the Rutgers basketball team to be competitive against higher-level teams like LSU this weekend, coach Mike Rice wants more out of his star player.

Junior forward Dane Miller, who is the second highest scorer returning from last year with 9.2 points per game, is a little too unselfish for Rice's tastes this year.

"If we're going to be good, Dane's going to score in double digits," Rice said yesterday after a dominant win over UMBC. "He has other weapons this year, but he's got to be a little bit more aggressive. I'm going to sit down and talk to him about [it]."

Miller took nine shots per game last year compared to 4.5 per game through seven this season.

After going a combined 4-for-8 and scoring nine points in the two losses in Cancun, Miller was held out of the starting lineup yesterday against UMBC, snapping a 56-game streak dating back to his freshman year.

"It wasn't really tough," Miller said of not starting. "At the same time, I was the first one off the bench and give guys handshakes. I gave them advice and was telling them where to look and to keep their head up. It doesn't really matter. I still contributed to the team with the way I played."

The move did not immediately fire up Miller's offensive game — he went scoreless, taking just two shots in 14 minutes off the bench. But Rice was happy with Miller's attitude during the game.

"He's a veteran," Rice said. "He knows he didn't need to shoot when he came in the second half. He just was working and, again, that's the unselfishness of Dane. He didn't care. I took Dane out at the 7:40 mark. He wasn't exhausted. He said, ‘no, let the young guys play.' He just wants this team to develop. He wants these young guys to get better and I'll give him a lot of credit with that because a lot of guys, upperclassmen — ‘me, me me,' especially since Dane hasn't scored in three games. "

With LSU looming Saturday and Florida coming shortly after Christmas, Miller needs to pick it up soon, however.

"I do want him to shoot more," Rice said. "He's got to get eight shots, seven shots and he's just not getting them."

Miller, the undisputed leader of the 2011-12 Scarlet Knights, admitted that he "might be too unselfish" after the game and he that he knows what is expected of him.

"I'm trying to take more shots, but I always feed off getting my teammates the ball," Miller said. "That's what I am. That's just what I do."

Miller's unselfishness carried over to his emotions after the game. Despite playing just 14 minutes, Miller was all smiles in the locker room after the 94-56 win.

"It feels good to be on the right side again," he said. "Going to the two games in Cancun and not even getting one and me not playing well, it was big to get the win. We've been practicing hard, doing two-a-days. We came out just ready. We got it done. We got that losing taste out of our mouth."

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