Miller-McIntyre: Another Year Older, Another Year Wiser
Oct. 15, 2013
By Emma Lingan, WakeForestSports.com
After being thrown into the fire as a freshman last season, Codi Miller-McIntyre rose to the challenge and showed glimpses of his potential as both a player and a leader. Now, as a sophomore with a season under his belt, he feels more capable and more confident than ever.
"Physically, last year I believe I was ahead of the game," Miller-McIntyre said. "But mentally I was far behind. I've spent this last year trying to prepare myself mentally to be a great point guard and to fully understand the game."
With a year of college basketball under his belt, Miller-McIntyre now knows what steps he can take to improve even more upon last year's success.
"You've got to be a student of the game," Miller-McIntyre said. "In high school I wasn't that much of a student. When I watched basketball I just did it just to watch it, but now I understand plays more. When I watch the game, it's a completely different view--I see them running plays, I see the defenses they're in, I see the cuts, I see every little detail that I wouldn't have seen growing up."
Miller-McIntyre averaged 8.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in the 30 games he played for the Demon Deacons last season. He led the team in assists with 78 and was the team's fourth-highest scorer and rebounder. His impressive performance earned him an invitation to former Deacon Chris Paul's CP3 Elite Guard Camp in August 2013.
"It was a great experience," Miller-McIntyre said of the camp. "I got matched up with some of the best guards playing right now in college ball, and I got to see where I was at and see what I needed to work on."
In particular, Miller-McIntyre's experience at camp helped to improve his confidence and eliminate some of the self-doubt he felt on the court last season.
"Last year I had a problem with questioning myself, like, `Am I good enough to be here?' and I think that showed in the way I played," Miller-McIntyre said. "After going to that camp, I see where I am among some of the best guards and that question isn't there anymore."
With this increased confidence come increased expectations. Miller-McIntyre believes that his drive and commitment will help him to attain all of his goals, including a spot on the All-ACC roster at the end of the season.
"It depends on how bad you want it," Miller-McIntyre said. "I want it bad. I work hard every day. There's not a moment that goes by where I don't think about basketball. Every time I think about it, I get aggravated because I'm ready to start playing."
Head coach Jeff Bzdelik has recognized Miller-McIntyre's dedication to improvement and believes that this, along with more on-the-court experience, will provide him with all the tools needed for success.
"We all know that in college basketball, to win, you need great guard play," Bzdelik said. "We all know that. Codi has worked really hard on that. He's improved his body, which makes him quicker. He spent a lot of time in the gym every day. He went to Chris Paul's camp. He went to a variety of other camps. He's worked hard at watching and studying film.
"He needs to improve his outside shooting. He needs to improve his decision-making and his leadership. Leaders inspire people. Sometimes, as a young player, they come in and they're really concerned about their own game. You have to worry about everybody else. You put your own game aside and get more involved in everybody else."
In an effort to emphasize each player's role as a team leader, Bzdelik has announced that this year's Demon Deacon squad will have no captains. Miller-McIntyre sees this as an opportunity to become more vocal and build an even stronger relationship with his teammates.
"One thing I've been working on in the last few practices is to never stop talking--just keep talking no matter what, even if I say something that's wrong," Miller-McIntyre said. "I didn't do that last year. I was extremely quiet and didn't say what was on my mind, and now I speak to my teammates. If something happens with me, they tell me what I need to work on and I think that's the biggest thing. If everybody steps up to be a leader on this team, we'll have a great year."
With help from his teammates and coaches, Miller-McIntyre has matured significantly over the past year. As the season quickly approaches, he is eager to apply all the lessons he has learned to his performance on the court.
"Last year I didn't show everything I could do personally, and this year I feel more free," Miller-McIntyre said. "It's crazy how much a year will do to you."