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UNC Basketball: Wes Miller number one in ESPN’s 40 under 40 rankings

The former Tar Heel guard has made a name for himself in the coaching arena.

NCAA Basketball: NC-Greensboro at Kansas Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Wes Miller played for the North Carolina Tar Heels from 2004-2007. Although he was on the team that won a national championship in 2005, he is best known for earning a starting role the following year and helping lead the Heels to a three seed in the NCAA tournament despite the team losing their top seven scorers. Miller averaged 7.2 points per game and shot 44.1% from beyond the arc that season.

Miller got into coaching very shortly after his graduation in 2007. He started as an assistant at Elon in 2008 and by 2011 he had acquired a head coaching gig at UNC Greensboro. Since taking over at UNCG, Miller is 164-126. However, he is 104-34 over the past four seasons and he led the Spartans to their first NCAA tourney in 17 years in 2018, nearly knocking off fourth-seeded Gonzaga in the first round.

ESPN recently did a 40 under 40, ranking the best coaches in college basketball under the age of 40, and Miller was placed at the top of the list. This feat is especially impressive considering many of the coaches on the list are at high-major programs. Will Wade (LSU), Mike Boynton (Oklahoma State), and Richard Pitino (Minnesota) are just a few of the names that Miller beat out.

As more and more time goes by, the discussion about who will take the place of Roy Williams after he retires only grows louder. I think the dream for every Tar Heel fan would be to find someone within the Carolina family who can keep the program competing at the highest level. There’s a handful of candidates who could potentially fit this mold. King Rice has had a solid run at Monmouth, Jerry Stackhouse just finished his first season at Vanderbilt after a very successful tenure in the NBA D-League/G-League, and Jerod Haase recently capped off his first 20-win season at Stanford and recently won the services of Ziaire Williams. None of these coaches, however, possesses the combination of youth and success that Miller has had on the court.

Miller’s UNC Greensboro teams have finished no worse than third in the Southern Conference over the past four years. He also won at least 23 games during each of those seasons. In 2011, Miller inherited a team that had won just seven games the year prior. He has wasted no time in making UNCG one of the top mid-major programs in the country and he now finds himself as one of the nation’s hottest coachesy.

Regardless of his status as a potential replacement for Coach Williams, it’s nice to see one of the hardest-working Tar Heels of all time get recognized for his efforts.