Chris Miller is a 23 year old 193cm guard from Brooklyn, New York that completed his rookie season in Germany with VfL Bensheim (2.Regionalliga). Before coming to Europe, he got semi-pro league experience in the states with the jamestown jackals. He played college ball at Salem international University and graduated in 2015. He spoke to German Hoops about his rookie season in Germany and before he signed with the Giessen Pointers.
Chris thanks for talking to German HoopsWhere are you at the moment and how is professional basketball life treating you as a rookie.
Hello, and thank you for having me. I am Currently in New York City In the gym crafting my game for next season. I am blessed, I get to do what I love and earn money from it, not many people can say that.
You have had a long rookie season as you went through the Ron Howard Hoops program last season and prompt got signed by German rRgionaliga two team Bensheim. Did your rookie season full fill your expectations of what it would be like in your first professional season?
It was a long journey to get to VFL Bensheim but overall I am happy with the way I have handled this year. I came in with the mindset to prove that I belong in this profession and I believe I achieved that goal.
Bensheim finished in ninth place out of 12 team and had a 10-12 record. You had a great rookie season being the MVP. Did your great stat season help lessen the tension of having a losing season?
Our season was very rough. In the beginning we had a full team and were seen as a contender. As the year went on we lost 7 players and a coach. I had to increase my level of play tremendously for my team to have a chance to win. I was looked at to score a bulk of the points, defend, assist. Basically be the “MR. Everything ” of the team kind of like Russel Westbrook this year. The outcome doesn’t look pretty on paper, but given the situation I was put in I feel I did a pretty good job.
What do you feel was missing from the Bensheim team that could have ended the season higher up in the standings?
Even being under manned we still found a way to compete. One of our biggest problems was scoring. Almost the whole season the opposing team would play box and 1 denying me the ball. We had trouble punishing teams with when they did that. I feel if we had one more guy who could go get a basket and another big man we would of won the league no question.
Your stats were simply amazing with 24.1 Points 7 Rebounds 4 Assists 2.2 Steals Per Game
30.2 points the last 11 Games and single game high 49 Points 5 Assists. Did it sometimes feel like you were a man playing among kids?
I would not say that. I respect all of my competition. I would say that I work very hard on my craft and I finally got a chance to show it at a professional level. I let my game speak for itself.
You had an amazing 49 point game. Was that the highest scoring game that you have had at any level in your career?
Actually no, I scored 50 points in College. It was Senior night and the last game in front of my home crowd. I scored 50 points in dedication to my mother who had passed away in the beginning of that season in 2012. Whats crazy about it is the fact that I didn’t hit one single 3. There was also 9 minutes left when I was taken out of the game so who knows what could of happened.
Take us through that game again. Did you know quickly that this would be a very good day for you?
During the warmups I remember being tired. I stayed up the night before mentally prepping for a good game. In the previous match up with this team I rolled my ankle on an opponents foot and had to sit out 3 weeks. This was a revenge game for me. During the game I came out with high intensity on defense, got steals and easy baskets early. I was locked in the whole game. We also won by 24 points so that was overall a good day for me.
Do you ever ponder about the idea what your game would look like against higher competition and if you could still be so dominant?
I work hard on my craft day in and day out . I dedicate everything I have to this. I do not worry about competition, I worry about being the best player I can be. I know I can be successful at higher levels and I believe I will get the chance to prove it.
How do you believe this season helped you develop and mature as a player? It wasn´t the best competition, but you ruled on the court.
This year I had to mature faster than the average rookie. Given the situation with players leaving the club I was looked at as the leader. I had to dedicate myself to be that leader for my team. Personally my goal was to come in and dominate to show even though I came from a small school I shouldn’t be overlooked. The outcome of the season should be credited to the hard work I put in. To me It doesn’t matter which league you play in. What matters is what you do with your opportunity.
How thankful are you of having had the opportunity to get your first European experience with Howard Hoops and getting looked at last summer?
I am thankful for Ronald Howard’s Tour. I think what he is doing is great. He is helping guys like me get in front of these coaches and actually show them that it doesn’t matter what school that person went to. A lot of players get denied because they didn’t go to top D1 schools which to me is not fair. Ronald’s tours are defiantly changing the mindsets of these International coaches and agents while giving guys a legit chance to show their talents.
Do you feel you would have had this opportunity without the Howard Hoops opportunity last summer?
I feel I am a go getter and I work to get what I want. So without Ron I would of gotten a contract somehow some way. However I am grateful That he saw my ambition and led me in the right direction. He actually Invited me to his tour 2 years ago. I came this year and the rest was history.
What do you believe was the most important thing that you learned in your rookie season playing for a German Regionalliga team two that will help you make the next step next season?
I learned how to play a good mix between American style and European style. Being here opened my eyes to different ways to play. My basketball IQ has greatly increased from playing this year. I see now that the players who have long successful careers are players that have high IQ.
What do you believe you must improve in your game and what things will you be working most on on refining your game this summer?
My IQ has increased. I learned situations, when to pass, when to take over and score , when to step back and let my teammates take lead, how to deal with tough situations. In this off season I am going to work on my whole game. My goal is to be complete player who can impact the game in every way.
What is the next step for Chris Miller? Do you feel like your game is ready for the next step of German Regionaliga or Pro B?
Right now I do not know. I can say whatever club I will play for I will give it my all. I am confident I will get my chance at the big leagues. I will be here crafting until its my time to move up.
Could you imagine exploring basketball in another country next season?
I love new experiences so I wouldnt mind playing in another country. However Germany will always be my second home.
Draymond Greene recently had a triple double without scoring 10 points or more. Why do you believe has it taken long for someone to do this?
In his Interview with NBA tv Green stated that he was locked in defensively. He felt he was in the right spots to get rebounds, steals, deflections and blocks. He knows he is not a top option offensively on his team, but he found a way to impact the game. I think he accepts his role and plays it very well. Most players just care about scoring, but I feel things like this are just as important to having a successful team.
Devin Booker lit up the Boston Celtics and was only the sixth player to ever have done that in the NBA. Did it surprise you that it was him and not someone else as there are other guys that come to mind that could probably have done it before the talented 20 year old?
I am a big fan of Devin Booker. He is a very skilled player and you can see he puts in hours of hard work on his craft. I honestly did not have him as a first choice to reach 70 points but I knew he would become a star in the NBA.
What is your opinion about Boston Celtic point guard Isaiah Thomas. Is he a top 5 NBA point guard at the moment or does he need a big playoff run to get there?
I think he has solidified his spot as a top 5 point guard at the moment. His numbers are insane and they are leading to wins which is big. They are currently number 1 in the East as well and that is all credited to his play.
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
I think this should be shown to kids who have aspirations to be a professional. That game was so amazing for the fact that he just took advantage of his spots. He didn´t dribble 100 times or try to break his defender each time down the floor. To me this should be ranked in the top 10 of NBA performances all time.
One always talks about Lebron and Curry, but one has to mention Russell Westbrook. He is averaging triple double stats at the moment. Is he stat wise the best player in the world right now and is the best choice as MVP?
I believe he is the mvp of the league. His stats are remarkable. Whats even better is the fact that his teammates are not very strong talent wise but he continues to will them to victories
How special was the run of South Carolina at the 2017 NCAA tournament? Do you feel like this was the story of March Madness 2017`?
I feel South Carolina was great for this years march madness. They beat some good teams and shook up the brackets. I am happy they made it as far as they did. It gives the spotlight to some other teams for once.
Is Lonzo Ball the real thing? Do you feel like he will be able to develop further despite the antics of his father on social media?
Right now it is hard to tell. I will be watching and I wish the best for him in his career.
There has been criticism of Russell Westbrook to be focusing more on rebounding to help inflate his stats and possibilities of getting triple doubles instead of focusing on his defensive assignments. Do you feel that this is a fair assessment to the player Russell Westbrook?
I do not feel he focuses on padding his stats. I believe it is great that he does rebound because that way he can start the fast break himself. He will forever have a spot in history for his performance this year.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was Get OUT . It was very controversial but I enjoyed watching it.
Thanks Chris for the chat.