Top international basketball prospect Baba Miller has committed to Florida State, he told ESPN on Monday.
"I could see an actual family at Florida State," Miller said. "I saw a very close relationship between everyone. That was a big part of my decision."
The 18-year-old, 6-foot-11 small forward from Spain is considered one of the top international prospects committing to the college route in the Class of 2022. He picked Florida State over Gonzaga, visiting both schools last week with his father.
"The style of play matches mine with my abilities and the freedom that they gave their players to make plays at any position," Miller said. "I love the culture at Florida State. As soon as I got there I could see the brotherhood they have on the team. They have tight relationships between the players and coaches. I loved the good vibes that were on the team."
Miller, whose maternal grandparents are from the United Kingdom, grew up on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca, but spent his formative years playing for European powerhouse Real Madrid, since he was 12 years old. Last summer he won the prestigious Adidas Next Generation tournament with Real Madrid, considered arguably the best junior program on the continent, and then helped the Spanish U18 national team to an undefeated record in the FIBA European Challengers, finishing as its second-best scorer and averaging 11.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 21 minutes, shooting 64% from 2-point range and 50% for 3.
Miller spent most of this season with Real Madrid's B team in the EBA league, averaging 11.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in 24 minutes while shooting 69% from 2-point range and 35% for 3. He was surprisingly called up to the senior team in December and even made his Euroleague debut as a 17-year-old in a game against CSKA Moscow because of a COVID-19 outbreak.
"There was a moment in my career that I did want to stay in Europe, but lately I decided 100 percent I wanted to go to the U.S. to get better, especially physically and technically," Miller said. "Europe is a place to compete, not to develop. In the United States if you don't play you're going to develop in practice and individual sessions. That's something you don't usually do in Europe. It wasn't a very difficult decision for me."
Miller grew up as a guard, standing just 6-2 as a 14-year-old before he hit a late growth spurt that propelled him to 6-11, but he retained his perimeter skills. His size, combined with his 7-foot-2 wingspan, excellent 204-pound frame and intriguing ability to handle, pass and shoot from outside gives him outstanding versatility on both ends of the floor with significant potential to grow into his body as it continues to fill out.
Miller joins a Florida State team that is undergoing a significant transition, losing six scholarship players from last season's team, including freshman NBA draft early entrant John Butler, a potential second-round pick. The Seminoles retained their top two scorers, guard Caleb Mills and wing Matthew Cleveland, from a team that finished 10-10 in the ACC and 17-14 overall, missing the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2016.
In addition to Miller, the Seminoles are bringing in two talented big men in four-stars Cameron Corhen and De'Ante Green as part of the 2022 recruiting class, as well as four-star guard Chandler Jackson. Sharpshooting wing Darin Green comes via the NCAA transfer portal from UCF, along with two-time Ivy League defensive player of the year Jaylan Gainey, a center from Brown.
Miller will represent the Spanish national team once again at the U18 European Championship in Izmir, Turkey, in late July and early August, joining Florida State at the conclusion of the tournament.
"Representing Spain last year was a great experience. We had a great coaching staff and awesome teammates. I had a great time playing for my country and winning the tournament last year."
Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service used by NBA, NCAA and International teams.