Tough night

InsideTennessee.com is a great place to follow Vol basketball recruiting. Sign in or subscribe now to read the latest on an intriguing Vol prospect.

When the opposing team plays a box-and-one on you, that's the ultimate compliment. Still, J.T. Miller of Clinton (N.C.) High School probably wishes that compliment hadn't arrived Tuesday night.

With Tennessee assistant coach Kent Williams watching from the stands, Miller struggled with the box-and-one defense utilized by Richlands High, scoring a season-low 11 points in Clinton's 59-39 home-floor loss.

A 6-foot-3 combo guard, Miller entered the game averaging 27.5 points per game. That's why Richlands decided to put one player on him at all times, with another player helping out whenever Miller got the ball.

"They played box-and-one on him the entire game," Dwight Miller, J.T.'s father, told InsideTennessee after the game. "He couldn't get the ball, couldn't score. Every time he got the ball they put two on him."

Asked if Williams spoke with J.T. following the game, Dwight Miller said, "No. I think he figured we were upset about the overall game, getting beat by 20."

J.T. Miller credited Richlands with playing "real good defense," adding: "I tried to get open the best I could and make the offense work. But every time I got the ball there were two on me."

In spite of the season-low scoring output, he now has 985 career points. He needs 15 to become Clinton's first 1,000-point scorer in program history.

Asked if he was nervous about having a Tennessee assistant in attendance, Miller replied: "No. But I feel like some of my teammates were. The atmosphere kind of got to them."

The loss was Clinton's first after a 5-0 start. Miller played a huge role in that start — producing 31 points and 13 rebounds in Game 1 at North Brunswick, 20 points and 9 rebounds in Game 2 versus Union, 32 points and 14 rebounds in Game 3 at Wallace-Rose Hill, 28 points and 14 rebounds in a Game 4 rematch with North Brunswick, then 17 points and 9 rebounds in a 30-point Game 5 blowout at Union.

Miller plays for first-year Clinton coach Levi Beckwith, who previously presided over the program at Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh. His players there included John Wall, a consensus All-America point guard as a freshman at Kentucky who was the first player picked in the 2010 NBA Draft after just one season of college ball.

Beckwith recently described Miller as an "excellent athlete" who "plays above the rim a lot" and is "an energizer for his teammates."


Inside Tennessee Top Stories