Wes Miller enters his first full season as the UNCG men’s basketball coach after spending most of last season as the interim head coach. He was named the Spartans’ ninth head coach at a press conference March 6, 2012 and agreed to a five-year contract.
As a junior, Miller shot 44.1 percent from the 3-point line,
which was seventh-best in a single season in the UNC record book.
His 64 treys that season ranked eighth in the ACC. He earned the
team’s Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player
awards that season, as well.
A fan favorite at UNC, Miller authored a book entitled The Road to Blue Heaven, which was published as a diary of his experiences as a North Carolina basketball player. In addition to his success on the floor, Miller excelled off the court, earning ACC Academic Honor Roll recognition and the UNC Athletic Director’s Scholar Athlete-Award. He earned his degree in political science from North Carolina in 2007.
Upon his graduation from North Carolina, Miller played one season of professional basketball for the London Capitals of the British Basketball League, where he averaged 19.6 points per game to rank eighth in the league.
Miller was a prep standout at the New Hampton School in New Hampshire. He earned a scholarship to James Madison University, where he played one season before transferring to North Carolina to become a walk-on for Roy Williams’ squad.
Miller married the former Ashley Love in August 2011.
|Title:||Associate Head Coach|
Mike Roberts is in his first season as associate head coach on
UNCG coach Wes Miller's staff.
Roberts came to UNCG after four years as an assistant coach at Rice under head coach Ben Braun. Roberts also served two years on Braun’s staff at California from 2006-08.
“Wes is someone that I have known and respected for more than 10 years,” Roberts said. “My family and I are excited about joining the UNCG community and helping build upon the success that coach Miller and the team had last season. I am also very grateful to all of the former coaches and bosses that helped put me in position for this opportunity.”
The Owls improved in each of the last three seasons with Roberts on staff, culminating in a 19-16 record in 2011-12, the program’s first winning season since 2005. The 19 wins were also a program high since the 2004-05 campaign.
Rice participated in the 2012 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, winning two games to reach the CIT quarterfinals. A first-round win over Louisiana-Lafayette marked the Owls’ first postseason win since a first-round victory in the 1993 NIT.
Roberts coached Rice’s post players and was the academic supervisor to seven Conference USA All-Academic recipients. In 2011, Rice received C-USA’s Sport Academic Award, which is given annually to the team with the highest grade point average for each conference-sponsored sport.
Roberts also supervised academics at Cal, helping the squad post its best team GPA in 10 years. Prior to becoming an assistant on the Bears’ staff, Roberts was the team’s video coordinator for the 2006-07 season.
The Terre Haute, Ind., native spent a year as a graduate assistant coach at Texas Tech under Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight after wrapping up his playing career at Indiana. The 2005 graduate helped the Hoosiers to three NCAA tournament appearances and one NIT berth and was a member of IU’s 2002 NCAA runner-up squad. He was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten Conference selection and earned the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award in 2005, when he was a team captain.
“I am thrilled that Mike Roberts, his wife, Janet, and his son, Paxton, have joined our basketball family,” Miller said upon hiring Roberts. “Mike has tremendous experience and knowledge of the game of basketball. He played and worked under a Hall of Fame coach in Bob Knight and has coached and developed successful teams at Cal and Rice. He will be a valuable asset to the program because of his experience, perspective and ability to develop post players. We are extremely fortunate to have Mike at UNCG.”
Former Maryland standout Duane Simpkins is in his first year on
UNCG men’s basketball coach Wes Miller’s staff as an
“Duane Simpkins is a terrific addition to our staff with experience at multiple levels of basketball as a player and as a coach,” Miller said upon hiring Simpkins. “He has outstanding interpersonal skills, a winning mentality and a great understanding of the game. He will impact our staff immediately in recruiting and in the development of our guards, among many other areas. We welcome Duane, his wife, Kirsten, and his kids, Kai, Darian and Elijah, to our basketball family.”
Simpkins came to UNCG after a one-year stint as the coordinator of basketball operations under coach Pat Skerry at Towson.
“It feels great,” Simpkins said about joining the UNCG staff. “I’m really enthusiastic about it. I’m really enthusiastic to be working with Wes, especially because he’s coming from that coaching tree and great tradition of North Carolina basketball. He and I share a lot of similar basketball philosophies in terms of helping student-athletes get their degrees, skill development, game preparation, what needs to be done in practice and what needs to be done with the young men that are in our program, and we both share the vision of UNCG representing the SoCon in the NCAA tournament. I’m excited to be working with Mike Roberts, Jackie Manuel, JB Tanner and Kevin Oleksiak. This is a great part of the country. My wife is excited to be down here, my kids are excited to be down here, so it’s going to be a great time for us.”
Prior to joining the Towson staff, Simpkins was the head coach at St. Albans School in Washington, D.C., from 2007-11. For the two years prior to that, Simpkins was the head coach at Sidwell Friends School, also in Washington. He was an assistant coach at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Va., in 1999-2000.
Simpkins was an assistant compliance administrator at his alma mater in 2004-05 following a professional playing career that saw him play in China, Italy, the Dominican, France and Belgium, as well as in the United States. Simpkins, who concluded his professional career with the Shandong Tigers in Shandong, China, played in the USBL and the ABA in the U.S. from 2000-02. He also played with the Memphis Grizzlies in the Summer Pro League.
A McDonald’s High School All-American at DeMatha Catholic High School under legendary Hall of Fame coach Morgan Wootten, Simpkins was just the third freshman to make DeMatha’s varsity team.
Simpkins was a three-time honorable mention All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection at Maryland, helping the Terrapins to three NCAA appearances, including a pair of Sweet Sixteen showings. A three-year starter and captain under coach Gary Williams from 1992-96, Simpkins finished his career with 1,123 points over his 119-game career. He was a career 81.2 percent free throw shooter and his 483 career assists rank him seventh on the Terrapins’ all-time list.
The owner and director of “Power Through Sports” camps and clinics in Washington, Simpkins has also served as a basketball analyst for Comcast SportsNet.
Jackie Manuel is in his first season as an assistant coach on
UNCG coach Wes Miller's staff.
Manuel joins the UNCG staff after a one-year stint as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at his alma mater, North Carolina. There, he prepared and assisted with the execution of the strength training workout plan for the men’s basketball team while learning the ropes of coaching from Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams.
“It’s a great honor, and I’m very thankful for Wes to think of me that highly,” Manuel said. “I’m very appreciative and just blessed. It brings back old memories. It doesn’t happen often, whether it’s playing, coaching, whatever it is, that you get to be with a teammate again. It’s going to be good. We know each other very well, so the transition should be real easy.”
In Manuel’s one year on staff at UNC, the Tar Heels went 32-6 overall, won the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight. North Carolina began the 2011-12 campaign ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Manuel wrapped up a five-year professional playing career in 2011. He spent the 2010-11 season playing for the Miyazaki Shining Suns in Miyazaki, Japan, averaging 18 points, six rebounds and three assists per game. Prior to that, he spent four seasons in the NBA Development League, playing for the Erie Bayhawks (the minor league affiliate of the New York Knicks), the Iowa Energy (Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Hornets and Washington Wizards) and the Los Angeles D-Fenders (Los Angeles Lakers).
The West Palm Beach, Fla., native was a two-time All-ACC Defensive Team member as a player for the Tar Heels, taking the honor in 2003-04 and 2004-05. He was a tri-captain for North Carolina’s national championship squad in 2005, when he and Miller were teammates.
“Jackie Manuel brings a wealth of collegiate and professional playing experience to our program,” Miller said upon hiring Manuel. “He is positive and energetic and I am confident he will relate extremely well to our players and prospects. As one of his teammates in college, I know firsthand that Jackie Manuel is hard-working, team-orientated and a fiercely competitive winner. As he makes this transition to coaching, I expect him to impact our program immediately in the same way he has impacted all of the teams he played on. There is no doubt in my mind that he will do that here. We welcome Jackie, his wife, Rhonda, and his daughter, Ryan, to our basketball family.”
|Title:||Director of Basketball Operations|
Former Spartan Kevin Oleksiak begins his third season on staff
at his alma mater in 2011-12.
He returned to the university to serve as the program’s Director of Men’s Basketball Operations during the 2009-10 season before moving to a coaching position prior to the start of the 2010-11 campaign.
Named to the staff August 4, 2009, Oleksiak played part of the 2008-09 season in France before returning to the United States. He sat in on some of the team’s practices and games as a volunteer in the latter part of the season.
A native of Abington, Pa., Oleksiak scored 1,015 points in his UNCG career, ranking No. 15 all-time on the Spartan career scoring list. He is in the top 10 in steals, three-point attempts, three-pointers made, and free throw percentage. When he graduated, his 119 games played were tied for the most in school history. He still holds the single-game school record for three-pointers with nine and steals with seven.
Oleksiak graduated from UNCG in 2008 with a degree in recreation, parks and tourism.
|Title:||Director of Basketball Operations|
After winning a national championship at North Carolina as a
player and helping VCU to the Final Four last season, J.B. Tanner
begins his first season as director of basketball operations at
With the Spartans, Tanner is responsible for many administrative duties including team travel, film, administrative recruiting and summer camps.
Tanner comes to UNCG after spending the previous two seasons as a graduate assistant on Shaka Smart’s staff at VCU, helping the Rams to a remarkable run through the 2011 NCAA tournament which culminated with an appearance at the Final Four in Houston. Overall, the Rams won 55 games during Tanner’s two seasons in Richmond.
With VCU, Tanner coordinated all administrative aspects of recruiting, helping sign the Colonial Athletic Association’s top recruiting class and individual recruit in 2010. He also assisted with team scouting and ticket distribution for all games.
Tanner spent two seasons as a walk-on at North Carolina (2007-09), helping the Tar Heels to the 2009 national championship. Tanner appeared in 39 games in two seasons as UNC won a pair of ACC championships under Roy Williams. Tanner spent his first two years at UNC as a member of the UNC junior varsity squad.
Tanner earned a B.S. in business administration from UNC in 2009 and was awarded a master’s degree in sport leadership from VCU in May 2011.
A native of Hendersonville, N.C., Tanner graduated from West Henderson High School in 2005. He married the former Kristi Stricker on June 6, 2009. The couple resides in Greensboro.