Three months after committing to play for Dakota Wesleyan University this winter, Jordan Miller has changed his mind.
The former Mitchell standout told DWU head basketball coach John Hemenway Saturday that he would no longer be coming to play for the Tigers this year; instead, he is going back to Marshall, Minn., to play once more at Southwest Minnesota State University.
Miller -- who used a red shirt during the 2008-09 season at SMSU, an NCAA Division II university -- said when he signed with the Tigers on April 28 that "I just feel like it would be better for me to play at DWU. It'll be a great experience, playing in front of the hometown crowd again."
Monday, Miller said he feels that playing with the Mustangs is the best place for him.
"I guess I just really missed the guys and I missed the family feeling," he said. "I decided to go back where I started and finish where I started."
Miller's change of heart leaves Hemenway and the Tigers in a precarious spot. Miller's absence leaves a sizeable hole in DWU's roster and a scholarship to be filled before the season begins.
"Jordan made a commitment to us," Hemenway said Monday afternoon. "He signed with us in April and here we've been holding a scholarship for him since November, so to learn of this so late in the summer is very disappointing and irresponsible. We're going to have to try to find someone to fill his spot, and that won't be easy to do."
Miller, who practiced with last year's Mustangs -- which made it to the Elite Eight and the NCAA Division II basketball tournament -- averaged 16.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game in his senior season with the Kernels. He is able to play several positions, which Hemenway said would have allowed him to make an impact right away with DWU.
The addition of Miller, who is listed at 6-foot-5, would also have added some much-needed depth to the Tigers' roster. Dakota Wesleyan struggled toward the end of the 2008-09 season as several key players were out with injuries or playing with injuries, and one of Hemenway's goals this recruiting season was to create a bench several players deep.
Miller's decision not to come to Dakota Wesleyan means Hemenway is still looking for someone to add to that depth.
"We're going to try to replace him and that scholarship," Hemenway said. "I don't know exactly where it will take us. Finding out about this on Aug. 1 and being left like this has put us in a very difficult position. We're very disappointed he won't be in our program."
Miller, who worked out in Memphis with cousin Mike Miller for a month this summer, said the decision is one he's been contemplating all summer. He said working out with Mike helped him decide what was best for him.
"I've been thinking about it over the summer," Jordan Miller said. "I came down to Memphis for about a month to make sure everything was clear and I made my decision about a week ago."
Because the NAIA does not participate in the National Letter of Intent Program, Miller will not be penalized for changing his mind. He said he will be playing with the team when the season starts.
Hemenway said that, because it is summer, he does not talk with his team every day, but he's sure they've heard about Miller heading back to SMSU via rumors or other sources. He added that it's something his team will just have to deal with.
"I'm sure they're learning of the news through rumors," he said. "We'll deal with it. It's not the end of our program, but it would have been nice for him to stand by that commitment he made for us. But, we'll have to deal with it."