When Greg Milton III committed to play basketball for the University of Wyoming on April 1, he set the bar pretty high for himself.
“The plan is to become the newcomer of the year and be All-Mountain West,” Milton said. “Lead the team, bring energy and put on a show for the Wyoming community.”
The 6-foot-3 guard out of Elk Grove, California, signed with the Cowboys after playing one season at Sacramento (Calif.) City College, where he had scholarship offers from Tulane, Fresno State, Pepperdine and UC Davis.
In his lone season in junior college, Milton averaged 19 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. He made 78 3-pointers and scored 30 or more points six times.
Milton and four other UW newcomers have been on campus for about a month, working out and going to school. Although there has been a learning curve, Milton’s goals – and confidence – remain intact.
“Nothing has changed. I have to keep that same mindset. I have to eat every single day,” he said. “I love the sport of basketball, and it brings me joy. I have high standards, and that’s what I’ve got to do.”
One could take Milton’s confidence as arrogance, but that isn’t the case.
“He is not cocky, by any means, he simply believes in himself,” fourth-year UW coach Allen Edwards said. “It is not far-fetched in what he is talking about. Even if he doesn’t get there, I don’t think he will be far from it.
“Does he do it from Day 1? I don’t know, but I think by the time we get into conference play, he will be in his rhythm.”
Milton is expected to compete for playing time at the point with senior A.J. Banks, who enters his second season after transferring from Pratt (Kansas) Community College.
“(Milton) has a chance to be a really good as a lead guard, and having him for three years will be a benefit,” Edwards said. “He has a good confidence in his ability. He is good in bringing guys together. He knows how to score it. He can shoot it. He doesn’t have a beautiful shot, but I don’t mess with guys if the ball goes in.
“He also is good with things that go unnoticed. When he passes the ball, he snaps his passes. There are no soft passes with him.”
Milton said he has tried to “soak up” as much of the teaching by Edwards and the staff as he could since he arrived on campus. He said that has gone well, and his biggest adjustment was getting used to Laramie’s altitude of 7,220 feet.
“I’ve just tried to improve every day,” he said. “Listening to the coaching, and being one of the guys to contribute and help out the other guys.”
Do those sound like the works of a cocky player?
“Those expectations he has on himself, he has on everybody,” UW true freshman shooting guard Kenny Foster said. “That definitely rubs off. He is a great kid. He brings a lot of passion and love to the game. If you love the game, you will have high expectations for yourself.”
Milton said he isn’t concerned that some may interpret his confidence for arrogance.
“I don’t care what people say,” he said. “I control my own destiny. People may confuse it as being cocky, but I think about it as confidence.
“It got me here, so I must be doing something right.”