Making the stop in John Lucas’ gym in Houston on our now annual NBA Pre-Draft Tour, we were expecting to see a loaded group of both potential draftees and current NBA players looking to sharpen their skills and/or get back into the League. Usually, you’ve got a pretty good grasp of who’s going to be in the gym but we were greeted with a pleasant surprise by the way of former SLAM High School Diarist Quincy Miller.
Miller had been spending the majority of his time in Dallas continuing to strengthen his knee after suffering a torn ACL in December of 2010. It was clear throughout his lone season for Baylor that he just wasn’t the same as he was when he dominated the country at the high school level. His game reflected that, too. Quincy averaged 11 and 5 while playing both forward positions, but didn’t have that same explosiveness to get by or leap above people.
He put up 21 on eventual NCAA runner-up Kansas and 29 on No. 5 Missouri within a five-day period. The season ended rough for Q individually, receiving inconsistent burn and falling into a shooting slump as Baylor ran deep into the NCAA Tourney. Still, he won Big 12 Freshman of The Year honors and had the NBA as a viable option. On April 11, he announced that he would return to Baylor before shocking everyone by bouncing for the League three weeks later.
“Like many decisions in a young person’s life, I listened to other people and tried to do what they wanted me to do, not what was in my heart,” Miller very openly told us about his controversial decision to leave. “Baylor is a great place and tough to leave, but I went there focused on making a run [in the NCAA Tournament] and becoming a pro. We went to the Elite 8, and my next goal was to become a pro.”
Spending the majority of the time in Dallas rehabbing, he’s been more focused on showing people there’s no need to be concerned with his knee. Q tells us he’s “never missed a game due to injury since he returned” and that he’s been given full clearance. With that said, Miller has been making the occasional trips down to Houston to work out with John Lucas Basketball Resources to train with the former No. 1 pick/NBA coach and his right hand man Brian Merritt.
Lucas and Co. put Miller through a bevy of drills due to the fact that he can legitimately play both the small and power forward positions in the League. They did a lot of two-ball work and hand/eye coordination drills before they actually got down to shooting the pill. The 6-10, 19-year-old then did a series of post moves that utilized his length, primarily fallaway jumpers and up and unders. When the perimeter work rolled around, they had him focusing on a series of finishes with either hand and mid-range work, since everyone knows he can already stroke it from NBA three.
Many of the questions that NBA teams have were answered once the five-on-five action went live. Q was the best player on the floor and had zero problems getting past any of the forwards who were guarding him. Though he’s more comfortable facing the rim, he showed the ability to be a pick and pop threat as well as a facilitator.
The jumpers were falling from both mid-range and the NBA three as well. Truthfully, it was a dominant performance from a player who appeared to be regaining the form that he had when he was arguably the top HS player in the country.
With the Draft countdown down to hours now, there’s still a bit of uncertainty as to where Quincy will land. Many feel that he would have been a lottery pick next year and the team that drafts him is going to have full confidence in the strength of his knee.
Of any player in the first round, he has the biggest range by far. Teams as high as the late lottery are showing interest, though he more realistically will see himself picked somewhere in the late teens or early 20s. Some even have him projected as the final pick in the first round. Wherever he lands, Q feels he will bring just as much to a team off the court as he will on it.
“Whoever drafts me should expect a young man who truly appreciates the privilege to play in the NBA. I will play and work harder each day that goes by,” he said. “I will be an asset to my team both on and off the floor, and will represent my family, city and team well in everything that I do.”