Isaiah Miles, for better and worse, saw his role drastically increase as a junior. Much of his increased playing time can be attributed to a graduating class which included two major (and future professional) frontcourt players in Ronald Roberts and Halil Kanacevic. Miles had been largely relegated to the bench his first two years and went from averaging 9 minutes per game as a sophomore to 31 per game last year, as a junior.
A quick glance at Miles' junior year stats may lead one to believe he was productive. However, a deeper look reveals the inefficiency of his play. The Baltimore native shot 38% from the field and had a PER of 13.9, both not high enough for the liking of most St. Joe's fans. On the other hand, the 35% from three this season shows an increase from the year before when he averaged just 31% from three. This shows that the rising senior has the potential to improve as a shooter, but has a lot of work to do. Many of his low numbers could be blamed on Coach Phil Martelli's poor management of underclassmen. Martelli is notorious for failing to have trust in underclassmen and having a quick hook when they make mistakes. Rather than playing his young players, Martelli has been known to be fiercely loyal his upperclassmen which ends up delaying development and, in some cases, forcing the younger players to transfer, like Obi Romeo this offseason.
One potential issue with Miles is his size. At 6'7", 220 pounds, and limited athleticism, he's a tweener who doesn't really have a position. In addition, last year his three-point shot was serviceable, but he often became too comfortable jacking up threes before letting the offense develop. With two solid freshmen shooters, Chris Clover and LaMarr Kimble, coming into the fold, Papa Ndao returning from illness, and DeAndre Bembry continuing to put the team on his back from the wing, Miles will likely be asked to contribute more as a post presence this year. Aside from Javonn Baumann and Jai Williams, two unproven big men, St. Joe's lacks size and will need all the help it can get down low. If Miles can prove himself to be a more trustworthy rebounder, he could see his minutes plateau or even increase. Otherwise, with more serviceable players at Martelli's disposal, Miles could see his minutes drop to the twenties or teens. We will have to wait and see how good this freshmen crop is and how much other players have improved in their time off.
First picture courtesy of philly.com
-LaMarr "Fresh" Kimble ruled out for the season with injury to his left foot.