By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech men's basketball team officially signed the first piece to its 2018 signing class, announcing the addition of incoming freshman guard Caden Mills as part of the early signing period.
A 6-foot-6 guard from Spencer, Tenn., Mills has dominated for Van Buren County High School in his first three seasons, leading the team to three consecutive appearances in the TSSAA Class A Tournament.
"The coaching staff at Tennessee Tech immediately made me feel at home any time I visited the campus or came to a game," Mills said. "They stayed in close contact with me throughout this entire process, which means a lot to me and my family."
A 2,000-point scorer heading into his senior campaign, Mills was a standout for the Eagles as a junior, averaging a whopping 26.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. He helped lead the team to a 28-5 record, including a 12-0 mark in District 6-A play.
"We were extremely fortunate to be able to watch Caden at a young age at our Golden Eagle Basketball camp," Tech head coach Steve Payne explained. "We recognized the kind of player he is early and it's just a plus that he provides us a local flavor on the roster.
"His ability to score the basketball and the success he has had at the high school level at Van Buren County really stand out. He has been fortunate to play for a guy like Dustin Sullivan, who has done a tremendous job with that program there."
After leading VBCHS to its third straight Region 3-A title, Mills upped the ante, scoring a game-high 27 points in the Class A quarterfinal game for the school's first-ever state tournament victory. He followed with a double-double (22 points and 11 rebounds) in the semifinal loss to Booker T. Washington. He earned Best of Preps Second Team honors for his work on the court.
"He is a 6-6, play-anywhere kind of guy who can really shoot, pass, and handle the basketball," Payne said. "He is only going to get bigger and stronger, and he is sneaky athletic, so I am very excited about his future. It will be a jump from Class A to Division I basketball, but every time I see him play against strong competition, both individually and as a team, he always performs. I think he is that type of guy, he will figure out how to be successful at all times."
That kind of mentality and skill set will certainly help, as will his openness to do whatever the coaching staff asks of him.
"Next year, I hope to contribute in any way the coaching staff feels will help out the team the most," Mills explained. "I'm really just very excited to get to know the coaches and players even better and start my career at Tennessee Tech. I can't wait to help the team in the best way possible."