John Byrne/ Nevada Athletics
John Byrne/ Nevada Athletics
Kane Milling charges towards the basket on Tuesday, November 5th, Milling is a first year student who played basketball in France for six years.

Hailing from Nantes, France, freshman Kane Milling has traveled far to play for Nevada men’s basketball.

In late April, the 6-foot-4 guard announced his plans to attend the University of Nevada, Reno, where he became the Wolf Pack’s first commitment under Coach Alford. Ergo, in a way, it’s fitting that Milling cites the coaching staff as one of his main reasons for choosing Nevada.

“Coach Alford and Coach Neal—I really like them,” Milling said. “They sold me a plan, and I was all in for it.”

Milling recalled scoping out Nevada men’s basketball through video clips, hoping to get a taste of the team’s style to see if he’d work well with the Pack. Although playing for Nevada has been an adjustment, Milling commented that it’s certainly meeting his expectations. He described how Alford and Neal have kept him on his toes at practice, pushing to “make [him] better.”

Comparing his high school basketball experiences to playing for UNR, one word that Milling emphasized was “faster.”

“Everything we do is faster and more precise,” he said. “Even in practice, everything is on a time basis… [the style of play is] more athletic, not as technical. I’m still getting used to it.”

Milling also mentioned that simply playing at the college level has been a game-changer for him—and that adjustment is showing in his stats. As a starter for the Espoirs Limoges during the 2018-19 season, on average, he made almost 33 percent of his three-point attempts and 65 percent of his free throws.

In the Wolf Pack’s first 10 games of this season—of which he has played eight—he’s shot about 17 percent of his three-point attempts and 43 percent of his free throws. His defensive game has also taken a small dip—he’s had fractionally fewer rebounds, assists, steals and blocks per game.

However, it is worth mentioning that Milling has also had significantly less playtime on the court this season. With Espoirs Limoges, he played approximately 30 minutes per game, whereas Nevada has been giving him 11 minutes per game.

So far this season, the freshman has shown promise. In the Wolf Pack’s game against Valparaiso, Milling made two of his five attempted shots, bagged two defensive rebounds, one assist and one block—all in 15 minutes on the court. 

Milling said that his strategy for the season includes upping his game to the Division 1 level, becoming a good teammate and working on his defense. 

“This year I’m just trying to learn as much as I can [and] do as much as I can with my time on the court,” Milling said.

On the flip side, with his time off-court, Milling mentioned he faces similar struggles to any other college freshman. He admitted experiencing a bit of culture shock coming to Reno. However, having a team to lean on has helped him acclimatize

Though he’s currently undeclared, Milling is considering a degree in business management. He hopes to play basketball professionally for a few years after college. Whatever he does, he knows he always wants to be a part of “basketball culture.”

F. Evans can be reached at rfreeberg@sagebrush.unr.edu and on Twitter @SagebrushSports.