“The first thing you think about with them is their leadership ability,” Miller said. “They have played in big games, and have the experience of playing night in and night out at a really high level. They have taken their experiences and passed that down as best they can, and took a leadership role from day one.”
Marshall’s motivation showed Saturday night, as he attacked the rim and ran down balls all over the court.
“It’s now or never. It’s the last go-round,” Marshall said. “You gotta give it all you got.”
Miller and Bulldog fans got a good look at freshmen Elijah Brown, Rene Castro, Andrew Chrabascz and Nolan Berry, who combined for 19 points. Each had good moments, and showed no passiveness in their first collegiate action.
Fans also saw one subtle difference between Stevens and Miller. While Stevens was the epitome of ice-water coolness, Miller has more outward fire. It’s the kind of player he was at Butler, and it’s how he’ll be as a coach.
Time will tell just how good of a tactician Miller is, especially compared to Stevens, a schematic genius who’s probably the best out-of-timeout play-caller who ever lived. After coaching under Stevens and Ohio State’s Thad Matta, if Miller absorbed even a small fraction of their talent for the sport, and brings his own personality and modifications to the table, he’ll do just fine.
Big East coaches picked Butler ninth in the new-look conference’s preseason poll. Most national prognosticators think they’ll miss this year’s NCAA tournament. That underdog status suits this group of Bulldogs just fine.
“In terms of big picture, never put a ceiling on our team,” Miller said. “Never put a ceiling on our players in terms of where we can go and what we can accomplish.”
Knowing the program’s history, it’s safe to say few around these parts will do that, Coach.
– Brent Glasgow is a sports writer for the Hendricks County Flyer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (317) 272-5800, ext. 190. Follow him on Twitter @BGlasgow37.