Q&A: James Miller

New Mexico Junior College Head Coach James Miller spoke to RaiderPower.com about Robert Turner and what he brings to the Texas Tech basketball program.

Q: What has Robert Turner meant for the last two years to NMJC?

 

He's a wonderful kid, from Augusta, Georgia; he's meant the world to our program. Last year he trained behind our point guard (Marvin Binney) who ended up signing at Duquesne University but played quite a bit obviously.

Was a sparkplug off the bench for us last year, shot the ball very well from three last year, just a shade under 40 percent from three. This year stepped into the role as a starter, as our main quarterback on the floor, and had a very good year.

Very unselfish kid just wants his team to win. Obviously had a successful career at New Mexico Junior College, we won probably 50 games over the coarse of those two years and he was the main part of that.

Tough, unselfish, ultracompetitive, he works hard every single day and I think he's a great start for Coach (Tubby) Smith to start building Texas Tech's program, that's the kind of kid that you want to have as your first new guy.

 

Q: Is Robert Turner a coachable player?

 

He's extremely coachable. We were a very good team this year, we won our region and this region is probably the best region in junior college basketball.

Obviously if he's your point guard, if you don't have a good point guard that's coachable and that's not an extension of the coaching staff, your not going to have a good team. He has sacrificed his own personal numbers for the team's success. So what Tubby Smith is getting is a kid that wants to win at all costs.

He's going to do whatever his coaches ask him to do in order to help the team win. He's discipline, he's ultracompetitive, he can play very good defense, he's an athletic point guard who can make open shots and create for others.

So what people will expect to see from him is just an ultracompetitive point guard who's going to do everything to help Texas Tech win.

 

Q: What about Robert Turner off the court makes him special?

 

Well what stands out is he's a good student. He's got a 3.3 GPA, doesn't get in any trouble off the floor, he can hold conversations with the general public. He's just a good kid; he's a good kid. Never had any issues with him. What people are going to expect to see is a guy that really wants to help turn that program around; he knows it's an uphill battle at Texas Tech.

He's a smart kid, he knows exactly what he's getting himself into. What I think the community, his professors and the people of Texas Tech will see is that you have a kid that's taking a chance, just like coach (Tubby) Smith is taking on him to help turn that program around in the two years that he will be there.

He's the type of kid that's up for that challenge.

 

Q: Has Robert Turner always dreamed of being a Division I player?

 

That was the ultimate goal, that's the ultimate goal for all our kids. His goal is to play at a high level, a Division I institution, and go somewhere where he can be one of the main guys and help whomever it was win games. That's what he did for us and now he wants to continue at Texas Tech.

When he was on campus, I think he really envisioned himself fitting in well with the school, fitting in well with the way coach (Tubby) Smith is as a person. A lot of Rob's intangibles are what appeal to coach Smith.

He wants to play at the highest level, now it's his opportunity. When he says it's a dream come true, that's a reality. He's worked very hard to have that reality come true.

 

Q: What did you tell coach Smith during the recruiting process about Robert Turner?

 

He is a type of player that you would want to help start the foundation of your program with. He's going to do everything that Tubby Smith asks him to do, now you know kids make mistakes, but he's going to try to do everything he asks him to do, to the best of his ability.

He's going to work extremely hard in the weight room, the class room and in practice every single day.

He's tough, just a tough kid who can play defense, who's athletic, who's unselfish, who's sacrificed his own numbers here at New Mexico Junior College for our team's success and he's played against high level completion, the best junior college competition in the country.

Like I told Coach Smith, I don't know exactly what you need but he can go and help you guys play and win some games right away.

 

Q: How happy are you for Robert Turner for him taking this next step in his basketball career?

 

Extremely ecstatic, I mean the kids going to be two hours away from us. So selfishly, I'm juiced, I'm ready to go watch him play.

He deserves it; a lot of kids don't deserve the opportunities that they get. He deserves every ounce of this opportunity; he's just worked that hard for it. Selfishly I'm excited that this is where he's going to school, I'm excited to watch him help Coach Smith turn the program around going in the right direction. It's just exciting, I know he's exciting, but Coach Lohrey, our assistant, and myself are real excited to, to be able to see him play and continually watch him play from here on out, it's awesome.