Miller Wants to Be More Aggressive

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — In the mind of junior forward Dane Miller, two games do not define a season. After the slow start to Big East play against South Florida and West Virginia, Miller spoke about the importance of tomorrow's game against Connecticut and the need to turn things around fast.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — For the Rutgers basketball team to be successful, it needs more out of junior Dane Miller. Head coach Mike Rice knows it. Miller knows it.

All that is left is for him to go out and do it. Miller, who saw just 11 minutes in Wednesday's loss to West Virginia, said tomorrow's game against Connecticut is time to step it up.

"Personally, I think I will be more aggressive," Miller said. "I'll just come out and probably have more fun and stay energetic to help my team win."

Miller said he knows the team needs him as a leader and that is a role he wants to have. When he plays his best, he makes those around him better, and that begins with energy and passion.

"I feel like we had the energy in certain stretches," Miller said. "When we were down, we still played with a lot of energy at times and that's hard for a team to do. When you play with that energy when you're down, you have to keep it going. We need to bring that early. We have a lot of heart and a lot of pride."

Miller continues to lead the team in minutes per game, average 27, but slipped to sixth on the team in scoring with just 6.5 points per game.

Since his near triple-double against Monmouth, Miller averages just 4.4 points and rebounds per game.

From a confidence standpoint, however, Miller said he believes in his ability and, more importantly, believes in his team.

"It's only two games," Miller said. "It's a 16-team conference. I think a lot of people are acting like the Titanic already sunk, but we're still flowing and we still have a lot of games to go to get better. We're a pretty good team when we put all the pieces together like we did against Florida.

"It comes with any sport. When you win a game, everybody wants to be your biggest fan. When you lose a game, everybody writes you off. At the same time, we have to win some games to give us some confidence."

Rice tried everything from benching Miller to working him harder in practice and he remains inconsistent. The second-year head coach admits frustration at times, but that he will stick with Miller and give him every chance to succeed.

"It's probably frustrating to him also," Rice said. "We're going to stay with him. I had a good conversation because he's going to be here for the next two years, so we have to get him better, like I have to get [Myles Mack] and [Elijah Carter] and [Jerome Seagears]. He has to improve every day. It's a struggle because that's kind of his personality, laid back personality, and wait and let things happen to him. That doesn't work very well in college basketball."

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