Seth Millner is a six-foot-six-inch small forward from Grand Rapids Christian High School in Grand Rapids, MI. Millner verbally committed to play basketball at Cleveland State University for the 2018-2019 season.
Millner moved to Grand Rapids from Little Rock, Ark. After battling back from a knee injury, Millner joined the Grand Rapids basketball team his junior year, and became part of a talented team that made it to the state championship game.
A two-sport athlete, Millner laced up his football cleats for the first time his senior year, and played well enough at wide receiver to garner interest from Big Ten schools, but eventually chose to play basketball for CSU.
I had a chance to talk to Eric Schafer, a writer for prephoops.com and founder of EricGetsBuckets on Youtube about the recruits coming to CSU out of the Detroit area. Here’s what he had to say about Millner:
Possibly the best recruit out of Michigan?
Being a verbal commit and not getting as much press and hype from Cleveland State, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Schafer about Millner, but he was quick to give him high praise from the second I started asking about him.
“I don’t know if its a hot take or just a different opinion, but honestly I think he’s the best out of the three,” Schafer said.
Schafer describes Millner as a two-way player who can play any role. He said Millner excels on defense, plays hard and can do a little bit of everything on the court. Schafer said he isn’t ‘elite’ at any one thing, but is a great all around player who can make an impact.
Millner is not a number one scoring option
While Schafer believes Millner is the best recruit for CSU coming out of Detroit, he said Millner isn’t a number one option. Schafer pointed out that on the Grand Rapids team that went to the state championship, Millner was their fourth or fifth scoring option.
Millner played on a Grands Rapids team with loads of Division I talent. The roster included Xavier Tillman, a six-foot-eight-inch power forward currently in his freshman year with Michigan State, as well as Duane Washington Jr., a six-foot-three-inch combo guard who is signed by Ohio State for the 2018-19 season. The team also included James Beck, a six-foot-eight-inch guard currently in the Horizon League, playing for Oakland.
Millner never had to be the number one scorer, and even though he isn’t lighting up for the scoreboard, he will make an impact on other facets on the game.
“If you’re looking for a number one scorer, that’s not him, but if you’re looking for anywhere from a two to a four option in terms of scoring the ball, he’ll be good that way,” Schafer said. “Even if he scores eight to 10 points in a game, he’ll make an impact defensively and in the rebounding category as well.”
This year Millner had to take on a much larger role for Grand Rapids Christian after the aforementioned players left for various reasons. In a 57-43 loss against a strong Detroit Cass Tech team, Millner had a team leading 16 points and eight rebounds.
“We ask Seth to do a lot,” Warners said in the article. “We ask him to score, handle the ball and rebounds all under pressure. If [the defense] takes that away, we have to find somebody else to step up. We need to execute better. We don’t need one person to do everything.”
Millner is a talented player, but it may help him out if defenses aren’t focused on him.
Football helped Millner become a strong, athletic player
Millner played football for the first time this season, and his performance, as well as the idea of having a six-foot-six-inch receiver, garnered him interest from Big Ten schools to play football for their programs. Schafer said that after a season of playing football, Millner looks much stronger and much more athletic this season.
“From the summer until now he looks way more athletic, way stronger now than he did in the summer,” Schafer said.
The strength he gained on the field is translating to the court, where Schafer said Millner can presents matchup problems for the skinnier wings he faces.
Physicality was CSU Head Coach Dennis Felton’s buzz word in every press conference this year.
As a six-foot-six-inch 195 pound small forward with a football background, Millner will be a sight for sore eyes for many CSU fans. He’s a player who isn’t undersized, and won’t be getting pushed around by opposing teams.
“He’s got some muscle on him and he’s tough,” Schafer said. “He’s not afraid to play physical.”
Strength mixed with a high basketball IQ makes Millner pretty versatile on offense
Schafer said that Millner is really good from the triple threat position, and that a lot of that comes from smart play that allows him to fake out other players.
“He’s really good at using the fakes,” Schafer said. “Ball fakes, pump fakes, head fakes, jab steps. He’s a pretty smart player offensively.”
Washington, Millner’s former teammate who signed to Ohio State, is Millner’s cousin, and both are nephews of former NBA coach and player Derek Fisher. Washington moved to Sierra Canyon, Cali. to play his last high school season there.
“They’re both very smart. They make the right plays all the time and they played really well together,” Schafer said. “And that’s how he [Millner] is. He’s definitely got a high IQ. He’s unselfish. He doesn’t have a huge ego. He does what his team needs.”
How much knowledge Fisher has passed along to his nephews is beyond what I can investigate, but according to Schafer, Millner is an intelligent player, and I’m sure it doesn’t hurt to have a former NBA player and coach in the family.
What will he do next season?
Schafer gave his hot take and said that Millner was the best player coming out of Detroit for CSU. I’ll give mine. From everything I’ve seen and heard, Millner has the tools to make the most impact for CSU next season out of all the Freshman coming in next season.
Millner plays lock-down defense, can do a lot of different things on offense and is tough, But most of all, he is positionless. He played anywhere from shooting guard to power forward when he played in AAU. He has experience playing in a state championship game on a team loaded with power-five talent. He has NBA basketball pedigree in his family. This team lost a great wing in Kenny Carpenter and will need to replace him.
It seems like Millner flew under the radar and that he is a great fit for CSU next season. I don’t see a wing on next year’s roster that is a definite starter, so Millner has every chance to earn his playing time next year. I think he will.
Seth Millner highlights courtesy of EricGetsBuckets
Photo Courtesy PrepHoops Michigan
Video Courtesy Eric Schafer