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Mismatched sneakers are good luck for UAlbany men's basketball's Miller

Mismatched sneakers are good luck for UAlbany men's basketball's Miller

Notes from the Great Danes' 2-3 start
Mismatched sneakers are good luck for UAlbany men's basketball's Miller
Rayshawn Miller drives to the basket during a recent game.
Photographer: Erica Miller

ALBANY — His team won when he did it.

So what choice did University at Albany men’s basketball senior Rayshawn Miller have other than to continue wearing mismatched sneakers when he played?

“I did it against Canisius and we won,” said Miller, whose 2-3 Great Danes play Friday at Milwaukee. “And I was like, ‘OK, first win, so I’ll do it again.’ Then, we won again, so I kept it going.”

Miller is wearing the same type of sneaker on each foot, but the color pattern of each sneaker is different. Miller has been wearing one from his darker pair of Kyrie 2 sneakers he owns on his left foot and a lighter version of the sneaker on his right.

“So it’s the same shoe,” Miller said, “just two different colors.”

Miller said he started wearing the signature sneaker of Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving after UAlbany junior Reece Brooks first sported a pair. The idea to mix his sneakers together for good luck was one Miller took from a former teammate at UMass.

“But,” Miller said after Tuesday’s loss against Holy Cross, “the streak is defeated.”

So a new one has to start — and for some good luck to help that along, Miller said he plans to switch which foot he wears each different sneaker color on starting with Friday’s game.

‘He smiles’

Through UAlbany’s 2-3 start, redshirt freshman Cameron Healy has impressed with his long-range shooting and scoring ability. He’s averaging 16.4 points per game and shooting 42.1 percent from 3-point territory.

“He’s got a chance to be as good as he wants to be,” UAlbany head coach Will Brown said earlier this week.

Attitude-wise, Brown said Healy has the right level of composure to succeed, even if the coach views the player’s on-court demeanor as unique.

“He’s just out there, smiling,” Brown said. “He gets beat for a backdoor layup, he smiles. He turns it over, he smiles. He hits two 3s in a row, he smiles. I pat him on the back, I yell at him — he smiles. He’s just a free spirit out there having fun.”

Crowded rotation

Through its first five games, UAlbany has often played 10 players. As the season goes along, Brown said it is likely he trims his rotation to nine players — and that includes two spots for freshman Antonio Rizzuto and sophomore Philip Flory when those players are healthy enough to play.

“When Rizzuto gets back, somebody is getting bumped,” Brown said. “When Flory gets back, another guy is getting bumped.”

Flory is likely still a month away from returning after having foot surgery, while Rizzuto has dealt with a variety of health issues. During his short tenure at UAlbany, Rizzuto has had knee surgery, cracked his sternum and is now dealing with pneumonia. Brown expects Rizzuto back within a couple weeks.

“This is a giant jigsaw puzzle right now that we’re trying to figure out,” Brown said.

At the moment, freshman Nikola Jerotic is not factoring into that puzzle. Brown said it’s likely the Great Danes will redshirt the rookie from Serbia.

Reach Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.

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