Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Rutgers’ Miller Motivated by Stabbing Death of Friend
NEWARK — Dane Miller didn’t need any added motivation for Saturday’s Garden State showdown between Rutgers and Seton Hall.
But he found it Friday in a tragic place when he learned during practice that a close friend of his from his hometown of Rochester, Siaquan Moore, had been stabbed three times in the upper torso following an incident outside of a nightclub early Monday morning.
Miller was under the impression that Moore, 21, had died Friday. Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester confirmed the death in a statement on Saturday.
“I just broke down [Friday],” Miller told SNY.tv and the New York Post after pouring in a season-high 21 points to go with 10 rebounds as Rutgers beat Seton Hall, 77-72 in overtime, at The Prudential Center.
“I couldn’t really pull myself together. I felt like I had to come out and play for him.”
Miller had known Moore since the seventh grade and was his former AAU teammate and someone he looked up to.
“When I first started playing basketball he was one of the people who really motivated me and kept me inspired,” said Miller, a 6-6 junior.
“He really helped me out. He was really a good friend so I felt bad”
Miller said he was also motivated by statements made by Pirates’ senior point guard Jordan Theodore following Seton Hall’s 59-54 win at The RAC Feb. 8
“I guess he said he owns the RAC,” Miller said. “Coach [Mike] Rice said that.”
Miller was a highly touted recruit coming out of Rush-Henrietta High School, but his college career has been marked by inconsistency.
“That’s sometimes the frustrating part of Dane Miller,” Rice said. “You love that he has this ability, but maybe it’s going to become consistent.”
Miller played a brilliant game that included nine points during a critical 14-4 second-half Rutgers run that turned a 44-38 deficit into a 52-48 edge.
But Miller missed a clutch breakaway layup with under two minutes remaining that would’ve put Rutgers up 65-60. Seton Hall went on to tie it at 65 on two foul shots by Theodore and force overtime. Jerome Seagears hit two huge 3-pointers in the extra period as Rutgers outscored the Pirates, 12-7.
But in scoring 16 of his 21 points in the second half and overtime, Miller helped deal a harsh blow to Seton Hall’s NCAA Tournament hopes.
“He was the best athlete on the floor tonight and he should be that every single night,” Rice said. “When you add the relentlessness of it and just kept it simple. He was very strong in the high post which we needed. I thought that he did a tremendous job playing at his tempo.”
In the Seton Hall locker room, Theodore paid Miller props for his 8-for-14 shooting performance.
“He killed us like that last year,” Theodore said. “He’s the X-factor. Dane Miller played a really good game for those guys. [Eight-for-14], 21 points. [Shoot], it don’t get better than that.”
Miller said the loss of his friend, combined with the perceived comments from Theodore, was enough to send him to a new level, the level everyone expected coming out of high school.
“I was really motivated to come out,” Miller said, “and get this win for [Moore] and play hard.”
Photo: US Presswire
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.