Tony Miller, who’s given Washington State’s basketball team a boost this season with his strong inside play, has been rewarded with a scholarship by first-year Cougars coach Kyle Smith, The Spokesman-Review confirmed Monday.
A former walk-on who transferred to WSU from Montana after spending two seasons at Seattle Pacific, Miller has scored in double figures in both of the Cougars’ Pac-12 games – notching his first double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds in a 65-56 loss to USC and 11 points and six rebounds in a 79-71 overtime win over UCLA.
Miller was pressed into a bigger role for the Cougars when grad transfer forward Deion James was ruled out for the season with a heart infection. He logged a season-high 21 minutes in a 78-65 win over Idaho, scoring a season-high 18 points in that game, on 6-of-7 shooting.
Since WSU’s final game of the Cayman Islands Classic, against Colorado State, Miller has scored in double figures five times and the Cougars have won seven games with just one loss, to USC.
The 6-foot-6, 210-pound forward has given Smith’s team length and toughness in the post and Miller’s productivity has led the coach to consider inserting the two-time transfer into his starting lineup at some point.
“I think Tony Miller is obviously going to help us (against longer Pac-12 teams),” Smith said after the USC game. “He’s learning, he’s playing the four but he’s so long and so quick. He helps a lot, he gets on the board, he’s a good scorer. He just always finds a way to score and rebound and he’s tough. He guards. I think that’s where moving forward, he’s going to have a nice role for us.”
Smith added: “Tony’s quick, he’s a low-post scorer, he can face up and drive, he can take a midrange shot. So he’s another guy they have to account for in the scout. … It might be a good time to consider starting Tony, too, because I just think he gives us that quick, strong, athletic frontcourt guy.”
Miller sat out his only season at Montana due to NCAA transfer rules after playing two seasons at SPU, where he was a former 2016-17 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year.
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