In mid-December, even after a pair of restorative wins, Wes Miller did not love the trajectory of his basketball team. He decided some defensive tone-setting might fix what ailed UNC Greensboro. To get that, he tapped directly into the source. He approached the roster’s wellspring of disturbance, senior Isaiah Miller, and talked about being more physical and assertive at the start of games. The Spartans’ coach, of course, knew how his message would land. He might as well have lit a match to inspect a gas leak.
About three minutes into the Spartans’ very next game, Elon’s Hunter McIntosh caught an inbounds pass and began to dribble up the floor. Isaiah Miller picked him up. Miller fought through a screen, hounded McIntosh to the right, then to the left, then back to the right and back to the left again. Then the beleaguered McIntosh drove to the lane, tripped over his own feet and fell down. Just flat-out fell. An official called a foul and Wes Miller inquired as to what, precisely, about any of that warranted a whistle.
Come on, the ref said. Division I players don’t just fall down.
“Oh, yes they do,” Wes Miller replied. “Yes, they do, when Isaiah is guarding them.”
It’s a couple months later and UNC Greensboro has an NCAA Tournament game to play Saturday and this has happened, in large part, because Isaiah Miller hasn’t let up on anyone for going on four years. How much defense and dunks can define a breakout March star could be determined very shortly. Maybe the general public doesn’t tune in to see a 6-footer’s on-ball harassment this time of year, but maybe the general public should rethink that approach in this case, assuming the Spartans star leaves viewers with any choice but to notice him.