Getting to bed at a decent hour has been a struggle lately for University of Cincinnati men's basketball coach Wes Miller.
There just hasn't been enough hours in the day to get everything done.
"It's been an absolute whirlwind," Miller told The Enquirer. "It's felt like at times you're drinking out of a fire hose. It's nonstop every day. But I don't mean that in a negative way. It's been exciting."
Since being hired as the 28th head coach in program history in mid-April, Miller has built a roster and a staff pretty much from scratch, all while getting a jump-start on recruiting, forming relationships within the community and looking for a place to live.
The 38-year-old Miller, who is single with no kids, has found the right house, but is still spending his nights in a hotel room until he's able to move into his new place late next month.
"It is what it is," Miller said. "As long as I've got a good pillow, I'm good."
The chaos is real. But it also was expected.
After spending the past 10 seasons as the head coach at UNC Greensboro, Miller took over a Cincinnati program that was in shambles. After the Bearcats missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010 last season, six players entered the transfer portal and John Brannen was fired as head coach.
Brannen has since filed a lawsuit against UC Director of Athletics John Cunningham, UC President Neville G. Pinto and the university.
The fire in and around the program was raging and the outlook was grim.
But in between taking massive gulps out of the fire hose, Miller swung the hose around and turned it toward the Cincinnati men's basketball program, dousing the fire and quickly shifting the collective mood of Bearcats fans.
"It's been great to get out in the community and experience Cincinnati," said Miller, a Greensboro, North Carolina, native who won a national championship as a player at the University of North Carolina in 2005. "There's just such a great energy and vibe that you feel getting out and about here, regardless of what part of town you're in. I personally have really enjoyed that."
Miller isn't naive. He's fully aware one reason he's received such a warm welcome from fans is because he's still undefeated at Cincinnati. But another reason is because he's taken the necessary steps to build a bridge between today's Bearcats and the Bearcats of the past.
In addition to hosting a Zoom call with several former UC players shortly after taking over the program, Miller also added former players DerMarr Johnson and Kyle Washington to his staff, shared the stage with former Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins during Huggins' recent charity dinner at the original Montgomery Inn and invited members of the Bearcats' 1961 and 1962 national championship teams to practice.
"We're not talking about just one era or just one group of players, we're talking about generation after generation of just true success in the game of basketball, on and off the floor," Miller said. "We should celebrate that. I want our current players to learn about it, to benefit from interacting with the people that came before them and learn from them. I think it can continue to lift our program up."
While Miller is in his 10th week on the job at UC, he and the Bearcats are in their fourth week of his eight-week summer program. Each week consists of four hours of on-court workouts and additional weight training.
"It's a short amount of time that we're on the floor, so we want it to be really productive per minute," Miller said. "So high energy and high efficiency ... game-speed reps, game-speed shots, a lot of the fundamental parts of the game that guys don't generally work on naturally."
While Miller's focus is on improving the players' footwork, shot fakes and overall passing and catching, particularly as it relates to how the team will play within Miller's offense this upcoming season, his overarching goal is to improve the player-coach relationship and just have fun.
"Man, it's got to be fun," he said. "I love basketball. The best part of my day is when I get to be on the floor. So we're trying to get better. We're trying to operate at the standard that we expect. But we're trying to also have a really good time doing it. One thing that's been fun for me is they've been fun to work with. They've been coachable. They've been eager to be in the gym every day. They seem to really enjoy working with one another. So even though it's only been three weeks, that part has been really enjoyable."
The unrelenting stream from the fire hose for Miller won't cease for another month or so. That's when Miller's summer program will end and he'll finally have the opportunity to move into his new house. Until then, it's full steam ahead, as Miller continues to learn his players and staff and they continue to learn him.
"It's probably going to take till August to take a deep breath and feel like we can find some semblance of order," Miller said. "But the most important thing to me is that our players feel that there's a routine and there's order. I think we've done a nice job of giving them that type of organization and purpose and I think they feel that way. That's more important right now than the staff. But we're going to get there as a group here in the near future."