Former Hiland standout McMillen ready for new challenge at Walsh

By Dan Brown

BERLIN — Morgan McMillen is no stranger to success on the hardwood.

From her days at Hiland, to a success the minute she stepped on the Bowling Green State University campus as a freshman, the versatile guard has proven she’s an impact player.

After two seasons with the Falcons, however, McMillen is ready for a new challenge as the former Hawk standout announced earlier this year she will be transferring to Division II Walsh University this upcoming season.

“As much as I love to compete and win, and am thankful for the experiences and opportunities provided to me by BG, I thought it would be best if I found somewhere that wanted me as much as I want to be there,” she said. “I learned a lot this last season, and I felt like it was a good time for me personally to seek new opportunities for my success and happiness.”

The addition of McMillen will add more firepower to an already-loaded Walsh lineup, a program that went 28-2 last winter and was the seventh-ranked team in the country before the season was canceled due to the coronavirus.

A native of New Philadelphia, the local product is excited for a new start with the Cavaliers, who bring back the majority of their top scorers, including former Tuslaw standout Mayci Sales.

But it was the instant rapport with Walsh coach Kate Bruce that helped McMillen realize North Canton was the place to be.

“Coach had been through similar situations in the past and her experiences helped us immediately connect,” McMillen said. “I am extremely excited to be a part of her team and a program that loves to compete and win as much as I do.

“Walsh is a place that will expect me to bring my best day in and day out, both in the classroom and on the court, and I am ready for the challenge”

In her first season at Bowling Green, McMillen, a former All-Ohioan who helped the Hawks to the Div. IV state championship in 2017, was a Mid-American Conference All-Freshman Team selection, averaging 13.1 points a night and connecting on 89 3-pointers, second most in program history in starting 28 of the team’s 30 games. She also tied a school record with eight made shots from beyond the arc in scoring a career-high 32 points against Marshall in her home collegiate debut.

The 5-foot-9 sharpshooting guard appeared in all 31 contests for the Falcons this past winter, but she saw around eight minutes a night off the bench and posted 3.4 points a game.

“I love my BG teammates, and I have created some lifelong friendships and memories,” McMillen said. “Unfortunately, there was a time during this past year where I just realized BG was not the place for me anymore.”

After talking to a host of Div. I and Div. II schools, she found that home at Walsh, just 40 minutes from where she grew up in New Philadelphia and with a team that won the Great Midwest Athletic Conference title and has become a program to watch in the country.

McMillen will get to take the court right away, too, as she’s transferring to another division.

“The record Walsh has had the last few years and their winning culture is a big reason that I am super excited to start my next chapter there,” she said. “Being home, playing for a great coach, and being a part of a winning program is what made it so easy to make the decision to call Walsh my new home.”

As far as the classroom, the Academic All-MAC selection will continue on her track to becoming a counselor and possibly a college coach in the future.

And on the court, McMillen is set on doing the one thing she has done at every stop of her playing career – compete. Something she can’t wait to do for the Cavaliers this season.

“I talked to a wide variety of schools from Division I to Division II, but Walsh for some reason stuck out to me on my list from the start,” said McMillen, who will receive a full scholarship from the school. “Everyone I have talked to has said it’s a wonderful school and the basketball program really separates itself from anyone else in the league.

“I am humbled that Coach Bruce reached out and chose me to be a part of something special. I am ready to start working towards a national championship.”