This past week, I had the chance to bounce a few quick questions off newly signed Creighton Bluejay guard James Milliken. James played the last two seasons at Cowley County Community College in Kansas where he average 17 points per game as a freshman and 18.4 as a sophomore.
He is exactly the type of player who can score from a variety of spots on the floor that Creighton is going to need as they embark on their transition to the Big East. He’s a 6’2 guard who plays much bigger than that and can attack the rim as well as he can shoot from the field.
We talked about his decision to attend Creighton, how he sees himself as a player and how he’ll fit into what Creighton wants to do on the court.
Here is how our conversation went down:
J.P.: You grew up on the East Coast in North Carolina. You had offers from Murray State and UNC-Greensboro and still chose Creighton instead of moving closer to home. Why Creighton and why Omaha?
James: It just felt like the right fit for me. I got real close with guys up there on my visit and it felt like a good place for me to go.
J.P: Some people who have never been to Omaha have a pre-conceived notion about what to expect. How different were your expectations from reality and what are some things that surprised you about the city and the Creighton campus?
James: It was pretty much what I expected and similar to my visit to TCU (Texas Christian). I really enjoyed the atmosphere and liked the passion of the fanbase.
J.P.: How much did Creighton’s move to the Big East impact your decision?
James: A lot. I always want to play against stronger competition. I wanted to be able to play against the best competition I could and the Big East has always been one of the best conferences.
J.P.: How do you see yourself fitting in with the roster of players Creighton currently has?
James: I feel like I fit in perfectly. I got to play with a couple of the guys when I was there and it just felt normal. It was great to be able to play with a point guard like Austin Chatman and a great player like Doug (McDermott) and still be able to play my game.
J.P.: Who would you say it is that you most model your game after?
James: I play a little bit like J.R. Smith (New York Knicks) with a little bit of Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder), sort of a point guard-shooting guard hybrid. More like J.R. Smith though, because I can shoot pretty well.
J.P.: Have you thought about what it’s going to be like to run out of the tunnel at the CenturyLink Center in front of 18,000 fans and play Georgetown and Marquette on national television.
James: Yeah, that’s all me and my family could talk about. My dad went with me on my visit and was pretty shocked how they filled the arena.
J.P.: What does it mean to you to be able to play with someone like Doug McDermott?
James: He’s a great player and I can’t wait to get out there and make an impact with him.
J.P.: Your final choice of college was between Creighton and Texas Christian, both Christian-based universities in power conferences. Was your decision mostly about basketball or did education and faith play into what direction you wanted to head?
James: Both are great schools as far as education, so I really just went with the one that fit me best. It really was the guys I hung out with when I visited Creighton that made it a better fit for me than I felt at TCU.
J.P. Scott: What are your realistic expectations for both yourself and the Bluejays for the 2013-2014 season?
James: My goal is to come in and make an impact immediately and help Doug with the scoring. As a team, I want to make it back to the NCAA Tournament and hopefully win a National Championship.