It doesn’t take much brain power to state that NBA players are a different breed than college players. In fact, you could say that about all four major sports. I can’t believe I actually just typed that out. That’s how obvious it is.
But a more nuanced conversation would be - can a good college player hang with a retired, 40-year-old former NBA’er who averaged 1.4 points in his final season as a pro? The answer is apparently a resounding no based off this video of NBA Finals folk hero Mike Miller taking on a Memphis Tiger in a game of 1-on-1.
Miller, a two-time NBA champion and former Sixth Man of the Year award winner, spent two seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Memphis. Just five days ago he resigned to spend more time with family, or so he says. Perhaps he’s preparing to make a NBA comeback. Watch as he dominates Tigers freshman D.J. Jeffries during a practice:
As you can see, this video is “from the archives,” tweeted out by Memphis graduate assistant Derek Malloy. It’s unclear when exactly it was shot, but considering Jeffries has only spent one season at Memphis, it was sometime in the last year. The clip has well over 4 million views, with many in awe of Miller’s ability to score with ease without doing any dribbling whatsoever. Head fakes, pump fakes, creating space, triple threat, etc. It looks so clean and so fundamentally sound that you’d think he spent 18 seasons in the NBA. Oh, that’s right, he did.
Miller’s most famous highlight is, of course, the three-pointer he hit with one sneaker in a must-win Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. Miami did go on to win that game, and Miller was in the starting lineup. He went 2-for-2 from three-point range, scored eight points and grabbed seven boards. The Heat went on to win Game 7 for a second straight ring.
But Miller was much more than a bench player on a contender in his career. He averaged 11 or more points per game for the first 10 seasons of his career, with a high of 18.5 in his second-to-last year as a member of the Memphis Grizzlies in 2006. The former fifth-overall pick just knew how to put the ball in the hoop, as Jeffries found out the hard way.