Alumnus Mills makes college basketball debut


Ben Hannani, spotlight editor
After leading the Normans’ varsity boys’ basketball team to a deep CIF playoff run last season, class of ’12 alumnus Austin Mills has returned to the hardwood, this time as the back-up point guard for the Pepperdine Waves. After a broken finger kept Mills sidelined for the team’s first few games, he received playing time as soon as he was cleared. In his collegiate debut against Washington State, Mills nailed a three-pointer, his only shot attempt in the Waves’ 58-56 overtime victory.
“I felt great,” Mills said of his debut. “Everybody wanted me to do well and I could feel it and thankfully was able to deliver for them. Stepping on the hardwood was like a dream come true. I felt a few butterflies.”
After practicing at the collegiate level for the past couple months, Mills has already noticed drastic differences compared to high school basketball. He shared that college basketball demands a greater time commitment and the speed of play has accelerated. According to Mills, high-octane offenses are commonplace in college basketball.
“College basketball is a lot more serious,” Mills said. “Everything revolves around basketball. And the game is a lot more up-tempo and fast.”
As a college athlete, Mills continues to balance athletics with schoolwork. Maintaining high academic scores has been particularly difficult for Mills when traveling, but he shared that mandatory study halls have helped him stay efficient. He confessed that his least favorite part of college athletics has been little time to sleep and relax. However, Mills believes the high level of competition and playing for an audience outweighs any obstacles he has faced thus far.
Although Mills has had to adjust to college athletics, he believes his high school experiences have prepared him well.
“[Coach] Jarvis [Turner] prepared me for everything: the conditioning, the leadership, high expectation, dedication, and kept me humble,” Mills said.