Miller Talks Big Picture

BELMAR, N.J. — Rutgers forward Dane Miller is still wrapping his mind around being a rising senior, but feels ready to take his leadership to the next level. Speaking with ScarletReport.com at the Jersey Shore Basketball League, Miller offered his take on the offseason changes within the program and the arrival of swingman Vincent Garrett.

BELMAR, N.J. — With one glaring omission from last year's Rutgers basketball team being senior leadership, then-junior Dane Miller found himself forced into the role. Another year wiser and coming off a disappointing end to 2011-12, Miller feels ready to take the next step in his game.

"The offseason has been good for me," Miller said. "I'm just working on my overall game. I'm working on being more aggressive and having a scoring mentality. I'm going to be more aggressive this year because I have to."

Consistent aggressiveness has always been an issue in Miller's game, frequently following up a double-double with a 1-for-12 night.

Miller is aware of the issue and hard at work on his game and his leadership skills.

"I'm getting better at it," Miller said. "I've always said teams have to have more than one leader. I think right now, I'm getting better offensively. I'm just letting the game come to me."

Miller is one of two seniors on the roster, alongside forward Austin Johnson. The pair tried to lead as juniors last season, but are more equipped to do so in head coach Mike Rice's third year with the program.

"I can't believe it's my last year of college," he said. "It's kind of hit me, so I'm going to do everything I can do to make it count.

"Now we know what to expect from that aspect. We've been through it and know how [Rice] wants us to be. It's about playing for the team and helping them and supporting the coaches. I feel really good in this role and me and AJ are going to do it better."

With new rules that allow Rice to be involved in workouts, the offseason has been the best Miller has been a part of, he said.

"Now we can do a lot more offensive and defensive stuff," Miller said. "It's a lot better to have his input on some of the stuff with the new roles. He can't be, like, doing all of his coaching stuff, but it helps to have him around. He helps us every day, so we just have to be ready to go and follow the plan."

The newest Scarlet Knight, Vincent Garrett, arrived on campus Sunday and is already clicking with his teammates, Miller said.

Garrett is enrolled in classes and will start his JSBL season next week.

"He came last night and we played a little pickup," Miller said. "We had our first practice today. He's athletic and he's not real vocal yet. He plays with a lot of heart. I think he'll help us a lot.

"He can help me get better. He's really versatile. He's got talent and he can make us better. ... He just got here, but all the players like him. So far, he's done a great job."

With Garrett and Kansas State transfer Wally Judge eligible to play this season, Miller does not expect any setbacks from the losses of Gilvydas Biruta and Austin Carroll.

"Spark isn't the right word," Miller said on Judge. "He's more than that He provides a 6-foot-8 post presence. He's very athletic, somebody that's going to help us. It's going to be hard without Gilvydas Biruta but I think it's going to work out awesome with what we got."


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