Fairfax, Va. — When George Mason University senior guard Otis Livingston II connected on a go-ahead three-pointer with 0.4 seconds left in regulation, the Patriots faithful went wild. George Mason was less than a second away from coming from behind to defeat Atlantic 10 foe Fordham on January 19 in Fairfax. And while the win lifted them to 5-1 in the A-10, Loudoun Valley High School graduate Jordan Miller (2018) experienced a win in more than one way.
For Miller, it was his first start at EagleBank Arena.
After redshirting through the first 16 games of the season, Miller – who was named the All-LoCo Player of the Year in 2017-2018 – sat down with George Mason head coach Dave Paulsen to have a conversation that would put an end to his redshirt and give a start to his Division I playing career.
“He pretty much called me into the office and said ‘If you don’t know, Go went down. He’s hurt. We’d like to take you off the redshirt,’” Miller said. “He let me decide, knowing that half the season was already over. He thought I could contribute to the team, so there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to help.”
On January 9, sophomore forward Goanar Mar exited the Patriots’ game against Davidson with a foot injury. Just four days later, Miller was in the line up, doing what he could to fill the shoes of the two-year starter.
“I want to give praise to Goanar for taking me to the side and running me through all the plays and telling me different things that could help me at the position,” Miller said.
In his debut at Rhode Island, Miller came off the bench to score 14 points, 2 blocks and 2 steals in just 22 minutes of work. He also became just the third player in the past ten years to score 10+ points in his George Mason debut.
“That first game was crazy,” Miller said. “My teammates and coaching staff did a great job preparing me and giving me confidence.”
Less than a week removed from his collegiate debut, Miller earned a start at home against Fordham.
— LoCoSports (@LoCoSports) January 20, 2019
EagleBank Arena is less than 30 miles from Miller’s hometown in Middleburg, so when his friends, family, former teammates and high school head coach found out he’d be playing, they came out in droves.
“I love the support from my friends, my family and George Mason,” Miller said. “We had a lot of students here, and school hasn’t even started yet so that says something.”
Despite getting into foul trouble in his home debut, Miller led the Patriots with 9 points in the first half and helped keep George Mason within striking distance of Fordham as the second half started.
After picking up his fourth foul midway through the second half, Miller sat for the remainder of the game, watching his teammates mount a comeback that ended with the three-point dagger by Livingston II with just four-tenths of a second left.
For Miller, his home debut was “emotional” and “exciting,” but most importantly, he and his teammates had a job to do.
“It was emotional, but we had a task, so I knew I had to come out and play hard,” Miller said. “We really just came out and played our game.”