UNCG Athletics Article Page
|Alma Mater:||North Carolina|
Wes Miller, the longest tenured head coach in the Southern Conference, is in his ninth season as the UNCG men’s basketball coach in 2019-20 after taking over the reins of the program in December of 2011 on an interim basis. Miller has spent the last eight years building a championship-mentality throughout the program and has laid the groundwork for future success.
Miller guided UNCG to its winningest season in program history in 2018-19, as the Spartans finished the year at 29-7. After narrowly missing the first at-large bid in school history, UNCG earned the No. 1-overall seed in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) where the Spartans defeated Campbell in the first round. Along with the 29 victories, UNCG also set new program records for consecutive home victories (17) and non-conference victories (11) while tying the benchmark for SoCon victories (15). Additionally, UNCG reached a double-digit road win mark (11) for just the second time in school history. Three Spartans earned postseason recognition, highlighted by sophomore guard Isaiah Miller winning SoCon Defensive Player of the Year along with being a first-team All-SoCon selection alongside senior Francis Alonso.
During the 2017-18 season, Miller led the Spartans to a then-program-record 27 victories and a trip to the NCAA Tournament, the team’s first since 2001. UNCG won a program-record 16 home games during the regular season along with a SoCon record of 15-3. In December of that season, the Spartans recorded their first victory over one of North Carolina’s four ACC teams and just the third win all-time against the ACC by defeating North Carolina State 81-76 on the Wolfpack’s home court.
After winning the SoCon regular season title for a second consecutive season, UNCG defeated The Citadel and Wofford in the quarterfinals and semifinals of the SoCon Tournament before defeating No. 2 seeded ETSU 62-47 in the final for the program’s first SoCon Tournament title in 17 years. The Spartans earned the No. 13 seed in the West Regional and faced No. 4 seed Gonzaga in the first round. UNCG had Gonzaga on the ropes with less than two minutes remaining but suffered a heartbreaking 68-64. On March 28, 2018, Miller received a contract extension through the 2028-29 season.
Several Spartans experienced individual success under Miller during the 2017-18 season. Guard Francis Alonso was named a first-team All-SoCon selection as the Malaga, Spain native averaged career highs in points per game (15.6), rebounds per game (2.4), total assists (101) and steals (36). In a triple overtime victory over Liberty, Alonso scored a career-high 36 points. It was the second-most points by a UNCG player in one game. Forward James Dickey, meanwhile, was named SoCon Defensive Player of the Year and a second-team All-SoCon selection after leading the SoCon in blocked shots (71) along with total rebounds per game (8.3) and offensive rebounds per game (2.9). Guard Isaiah Miller was also picked to the SoCon All-Freshman team while guard Demetrius Troy was named a first-team All-SoCon Tournament selection.
During the 2016-17 campaign, Miller led the Spartans to the program’s third SoCon regular season title in program history and the first-ever No. 1 seed in the SoCon Tournament. He guided UNCG to a 25-10 overall record and a 14-4 mark in SoCon play. UNCG advanced to the SoCon Tournament Championship game for the third time in program history and the first time since 2005. The Spartans and ETSU played one of the best championship games in program history with UNCG falling in the final seconds.
Miller led the Spartans to their second-straight postseason appearance and just the fifth appearance in program history as UNCG earned the SoCon’s automatic bid into the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The Spartans made their second appearance all-time in the NIT and first since 2002 when they traveled to Atlantic Coast Conference foe Syracuse.
The 2016-17 Spartans set a program-record with a nine-game winning streak, the longest winning streak for UNCG at the NCAA Division I level. Additionally, the Spartans became the first UNCG team to post three winning streaks of at least six or more games. UNCG posted a 7-2 record on the road in SoCon play, marking the best record of any team on the road in league play that season and setting a new UNCG record for road wins in league play at the NCAA Division I level.
Miller also led the Spartans to individual success in 2016-17 with senior guard Diante Baldwin and sophomore guard Francis Alonso earning Second Team All-SoCon honors while senior center R.J. White was named Third Team All-SoCon. Alonso set a UNCG single-season record with 102 made 3-pointes while freshman forward James Dickey was named to the league’s All-Freshman Team. Miller, the 2012 Southern Conference Coach of the Year during his interim season, has led the Spartans to double digit wins in six out of the last seven years breaking a streak of three straight seasons with eight or less wins (2008-2011). When he took over during the 2011-12 season, he led the Spartans to a 10-8 SoCon record and the SoCon North Division title as he was 11-11 overall that year.
In 2015-16, he led the Spartans to a 15-19 overall record – their highest win total since the 2007-08 season. He guided UNCG to just its fourth postseason appearance in program history as the Spartans took part in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI), advancing to the quarterfinals. UNCG picked up its first-ever postseason win in program history with a 69-65 win over Houston Baptist at home at the Greensboro Coliseum
The Spartans finished the regular season with a 10-8 record in SoCon play, matching their win total in the league from 2011-12. UNCG was especially strong at home posting a 12-4 record, the highest win total since moving to the Greensboro Coliseum and the top mark for home wins since the 2000-01 season (12-6).
Junior center R.J. White and classmate Diante Baldwin were named to the All-SoCon Team last season. White led the conference and ranked 13th in NCAA Division I in field goal percentage at 61.6 percent while Baldwin was the only player in the league to rank in the top 20 in scoring and rebounding while ranking in the top five in assists and steals. Freshman Francis Alonso also burst onto the scene in 2015-16, setting the UNCG single-season scoring record for a freshman with 443 points on his way to All-Freshman Team accolades.
In 2014-15, the Spartans were hit hard by injuries from the outset of the year and played late in the year with just six available scholarship student-athletes. Despite the disadvantage, UNCG was still the only team in the SoCon with five different players averaging double figures in scoring, with four out of the five players set to return next year.
Additionally, the Spartans had two players join the illustrious 1,000-career point mark that season as junior Kayel Locke became the 19th member in early February and senior Nicholas Paulos joined the ranks later that month.
Miller led the Spartans to 14 wins in 2013-14, their highest-win total since 2007-08. Included in that mark was the program’s first victory over an ACC school since 2007 and just their second victory all-time against the conference with a come-from-behind win at Virginia Tech. Freshman Tevon Saddler was named as the Southern Conference Player of the Year in 2013-14, the Spartans first such honor since Kyle Hines won the award in 2005.
Junior Kyle Cain was named First Team All-SoCon and Second Team All-Region in 2012-13. Cain became the second straight Spartan to sign a professional contract overseas, inking with Ramat Hasharon in Israel. Trevis Simpson is in his second year playing professionally in Greece after starring for the Spartans from 2011-2014.
Miller and his staff were very active on the recruiting trail in his first full season as the Spartans bringing in seven newcomers for the 2013-14 season, the first full recruiting class under Miller’s tenure. The highly-touted class includes six freshmen and one transfer. The Spartans were aggressive in recruiting North Carolina where they signed three All-State selections, including Clay Byrd and Diante Baldwin.
Miller and his staff also built on their success recruiting from the Baltimore area as they signed the Maryland Player of the Year, Tevon Saddler, a year removed from signing another Baltimore area standout in top-returning scorer Kayel Locke.
Miller, who was the youngest head coach in NCAA Division I at the time of his hire, made the removal of the interim tag an easy decision as he was named the Southern Conference Coach of the Year after leading the Spartans to the SoCon North Division title at the end of the 2011-12 season.
Miller took control of the program Dec. 13, 2011 with the Spartans sitting at 2-8 and led them through one of the biggest turnarounds in program history. Miller guided the Spartans to an 11-11 record the rest of the season to finish with a 13-19 overall record, including a 10-8 mark in SoCon play.
The Spartans lost their first six games under Miller to fall to 2-14 on the season but the program made a 180-degree turnaround, posting an 11-5 record down the stretch. UNCG posted a seven-game winning streak during league play, which included several dramatic victories. The Spartans carried that momentum into the conference tournament where they advanced to the SoCon semifinals for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
Miller, who also spent the 2010-11 season as an assistant coach at UNCG, is no stranger to the state of North Carolina. He played three seasons at the University of North Carolina and spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Elon and High Point. Miller also ran his own basketball camps in Charlotte and Greensboro for two summers.
In three seasons as a player at North Carolina under head coach and mentor Roy Williams, Miller helped the Tar Heels to the national championship in 2005, two Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championships and one ACC Tournament title. He was team captain as a senior in 2006-07, leading UNC to 31 wins and the NCAA Elite 8 as well as the ACC regular-season and tournament titles, and a final No. 3 national ranking.
As a junior, Miller shot 44.1 percent from the 3-point line, which was seventh-best in a single season in the UNC record book. His 64 treys that season ranked eighth in the ACC. He earned the team’s Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player awards that season, as well.
A fan favorite at UNC, Miller authored a book entitled The Road to Blue Heaven, which was published as a diary of his experiences as a North Carolina basketball player. In addition to his success on the floor, Miller excelled off the court, earning ACC Academic Honor Roll recognition and the UNC Athletic Director’s Scholar Athlete-Award. He earned his degree in political science from North Carolina in 2007.
Upon his graduation from North Carolina, Miller played one season of professional basketball for the London Capitals of the British Basketball League, where he averaged 19.6 points per game to rank eighth in the league.
Miller was a prep standout at the New Hampton School in New Hampshire. He earned a scholarship to James Madison University, where he played one season before transferring to North Carolina to become a walk-on for Roy Williams’ squad.
Miller married the former Ashley Love in August 2011.