Anchor In The Middle

Southern Miss basketball Wednesday had its annual media day, and was on hand to get interviews from both players and coaches. One player in particular who is ready for the start of the season is hard working forward Jonathan Mills. The senior told us about his off season, the team under Coach Tyndall, and his expectations for the season ahead.

Jonathan Mills is certainly the anchor in the middle for the Eagles. Last season, he came in and won over the fans by doing the "dirty work" down low in the paint.

Often seen diving on the floor after the ball, or fighting on the glass to get the offensive rebound, Mills proved himself to be a physical presence underneath.

After putting on more muscle this off-season, Mills said he's ready for even more of the same this season.

"I am feeling a lot better than I was going in to last year," he told at media day Wednesday.

"I am in better shape and the team is in better shape. We have got to keep developing. We are young and we are undersized, but we have a big heart."

Heart is certainly a word that would be used to describe the senior. Undersized as a power forward, Mills uses his strength and will to rebound and score down low.

"I always say that its not about your size, it is about how much heart you have and how much desire you have to win," he said. "I could go up against a 7 footer and I believe in my heart that I will outwork him."

It is this attitude that has allowed him to be successful at this level.

Also increasing, he said, will be his offensive production this season.

"I've worked hard on my low post game," he said. "I feel like I have several go to moves that I can score when I get the ball down low.

"I haven't had that in the past. When Coach Tyndall got here, he really wanted to develop my ability to score in the low post. We worked every day in the off-season being down there and trying to develop my game offensively.

"I have even developed a bit of a jumper. Coach Tyndall is a great offensive teacher."

Speaking of Coach Tyndall, the senior is happy to have him and is thrilled to be able to play for him in his final year.

"I like Coach Tyndall because he is more detailed and more hands on," he said. "He is always pushing us to get better and pushing us to fulfill our potential."

Potential is a key word for the Eagles this season. There is a lot of young talent, but it is unproven with only four returning players from last season.

"We'll go through some growing pains you might say," he said. "But no one will work harder than us or compete more than we will. I think we'll be a really good team that no one will want to play by the end of the season."

Mills and his teammates tonight open up the season tonight in an exhibition match-up with St. Catherine's College.

Cade Morrow contributed to this report

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