Over the weekend I got the opportunity to catch up with former Demon Deacon Codi Miller-McIntyre; now nearly two years out from playing his last game in the Black and Gold. We discussed various topics over the better part of an hour, mainly focusing around his career abroad, memories from Winston-Salem (Mention of Putters: Check), and his own lifestyle brand centered around the concept of "Patience."
For those of you in need of an update, Codi is currently playing for Parma Basket in Russia's top division, and putting together quite a strong season in his 2nd year as a professional. Halfway through the year, he ranks 9th in the league in Points, 1st in Assists, and 2nd in Efficiency as he helps push Parma to a potential spot in the playoffs.
Just in case anyone was wondering how I was doing.. pic.twitter.com/mHkl5u9D6z— Codi Miller-McIntyre (@CMMPatience) February 1, 2018
This is all following a terrific 1st year in Belgium in which he led the league in scoring and assists before making the jump up to the more competitive VTB United League of Russia. I first asked him about his experience in each league, both very different in size and competitiveness, but have been excellent places for his own development. "Belgium was a great starting place after having my injury senior year, which hurt more mentally than it did physically and it really helped to build my confidence up."
As for the Russian VTB United League, multi-million dollar team budgets that dwarf those in Belgium creates a much more challenging experience."The teams are much bigger, much faster, and every team has a player in each position that's really good. Every night is definitely a challenging night."
A similar gap can be seen in overall fan support of the leagues. In Belgium there might be a couple hundred people in the stands ready to watch the team, but his new environment in Perm is much more like what he was used to in the ACC: "In Perm, we're not the best team in the league, but our fans are amazing. The atmosphere that they have built around the games, it's like everyone looks forward to the game.. It reminds me a lot of being home."
When looking back on his college career, there were a few memories that stand out for the former 4-year Deacon starter. A victory his freshman year over eventual ACC Regular Season Champion Miami came up, but another moment that season was a highlight as well, even though he probably could've stayed on the court a little longer looking back on it: "It was NC State when Devin Thomas had a huge game that sticks out the most. It was at home and we won, and when everyone rushed the court, I ran off the court. I didn't know what to do. I never really watched college basketball growing up so when the game was over I just ran back to the locker-room and sat there wondering where everybody was."
The official video of the court-storm vs NC State is below. If you can spot Codi escaping the chaos, please DM me for an undisclosed reward.
In terms of his play style, many of us most likely remember CMM for his fast-paced tendencies; always looking to push the ball up the court on the break and take it to the rim. I let him know that in my mind roughly 90% of his collegiate points came from transition buckets, though I may have been rounding up.
Interestingly enough, when asked about one of the key adjustments to his game since college, changing his tempo in the other direction was what stood out: "In college when I got a rebound, I was full fast break, full speed, not thinking twice, etc.. Now, I get on a fast break I kind of pick my moments, it's not every time. That's where a lot of my growth has come and my assists have been increasing each year." Codi's last 3 years in college he averaged between 4.0 and 4.5 Assists per Game. Last year, that number jumped to 5.8 in Belgium, and this year he's putting up 7.3 APG in one of Europe's top leagues. I think it's safe to say the new approach and philosophy in his game is working.
Beyond the basketball court, Codi has a whole other passion he focuses on each and every day that helps drive him. That passion revolves around the concept of "patience" and his efforts to spread the importance of living life one step at a time on the way to your own personal goals. Initial thoughts about the idea started his senior year of high school, but really grew after reading the book the The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle while a junior at Wake Forest.
Today, he recognizes that no matter the end goal, focusing on what is directly in front of you is the route to success: "The only way to get "there" is through here. If I want to make it to the NBA, I can't focus on just wanting to be in the NBA, I have to focus on dominating where I am and taking advantage of the opportunities every day, every game."
The biggest benefit of living a life focused on what you can control? You'll never look back on everything you've done with a feeling of regret: "It's kinda a win-win situation. If I never make it to the NBA, at the end of my career I will be happy because I knew deep down I did everything that I could to push myself in the right direction. I did it the right way and I did it my way, and it just wasn't meant to be."
To help spread this idea of being patient on whatever path you're on, Codi created a website last year called CMMPatience.com that embodies the lifestyle he chooses to live each and every day. The site features a reflective blog, t-shirts and sweatshirts, and a chance to share your own story of what patience means to you.
In addition to all of that, video blogs giving an inside look at life playing pro basketball overseas will soon be in the works to further engage followers of the site. Simply put, I highly recommend checking it all out for yourself and seeing the hard work Codi has put into the brand. Watching this opening video with fellow Demon Deacons CJ Harris and Coron Williams is a good place to start.
All of this is just the beginning of a much larger plan to hopefully continue to influence people's lives for the better. From setting up a potential mentorship program in the theme of "patience", to someday creating an AAU team with a support system in place, the possibilities are limitless and I'm personally very excited to see where he takes it in the coming years.
When it was all said and done and our conversation ended Sunday afternoon, there were a few main things I took away. First and foremost, I'm really glad he didn't have to wait too long to get a 2nd chance at a Joel court-storming after that whole initial mix-up. He went from being the 1st in the tunnel against State to a full-on chest bump celebration with a student after the Miami win. That's the type of comeback story we can all get behind.
Secondly, the numbers Codi's putting up in his second year as a professional speak for themselves. In his first year in Russia, he was one of the top vote-getters for the 2018 VTB United League All-Star Game (Taking place 2/18 in St. Petersburg), and leads a top European league in multiple statistical categories. If the goal is to someday make it back to the US and into the NBA, this is the type of season that can open doors for that opportunity further down the line.
Finally, it always gives me great pride to know there is someone out there representing our University with such a passion in making other people's lives better. Codi's message of being content with how you approach goals, and not simply the final outcome of them, is something that can resonate with all of us, particularly now at a time where people far too often benchmark their own success in comparison to those around them. Focus on what you can control, take things step-by-step, and in due time things will find a way to work themselves out.
As Codi prepares for the back half of his 2nd year as a professional, he knows there will be plenty of challenges ahead. Though they may come in different sizes, lengths, and contexts, we all face similar obstacles in our own lives on a daily basis. The key is simply approaching each and every one with the same mindset:
"No matter how hard things are you've just got to keep pushing through it. If you just constantly have that mindset every day, 'Just keep pushing through, keep pushing through,' eventually something will give."
Couldn't have said it better myself.