UT Martin men’s basketball head coach Ryan Ridder has announced the signing of Rifen Miguel for the upcoming 2022-23 season.
Miguel is a 6-8, 240-pound senior forward who played last season at Troy alongside fellow Skyhawk signee Desmond Williams. The Luanda, Angola native is the fifth addition to UT Martin’s roster in 2022-23.
“Rifen is the final piece to the puzzle for this season,” Ridder said. “He is a highly skilled forward who brings us two years of Division I experience. He played for two winning programs in Troy University and Ohio University, where he gained valuable minutes and will be ready to play a big role this year.”
Last season, Miguel helped the Trojans to a 20-12 mark and a postseason trip to the College Basketball Invitational. He saw playing time in 29 contests and cracked the starting lineup three times for head coach Scott Cross, ranking second on the squad with a .532 field goal percentage (41-of-77). He averaged 3.0 points and 2.1 rebounds over 8.7 minutes per contest.
Miguel’s best game in 2021-22 came on Dec. 18 against Arkansas Baptist as he tallied season-highs in points (17) and rebounds (10) while sinking eight of his 11 shot attempts in just 22 minutes of playing time. He also snared nine rebounds and swiped a career-best four steals in only 16 minutes against Rust on Dec. 1.
Miguel spent the 2020-21 season at Ohio University, playing under head coach Jeff Boals. He was part of a Bobcat squad that went 17-8, captured the Mid-American Conference tournament championship and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after upsetting defending national champion Virginia. It marked Ohio’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in nine years.
Playing in 12 games in a Bobcat uniform, Miguel averaged 3.2 points and 1.8 rebounds while logging 7.7 minutes per contest. He was one of the team’s best free throw shooters, converting 73.3 percent (11-for-15) of his tries from the charity stripe. He scored a season-best 10 points – thanks in large part to a 7-of-8 performance from the free throw line – in just nine minutes against Cleveland State on Dec. 6, 2020.
Miguel earned All-Panhandle Conference second team accolades in 2019-20 at Tallahassee Community College, where he helped the Eagles go 27-6, win their first outright conference championship since 2001 and qualify for the NJCAA Tournament before the event was cancelled.
At TCC, Miguel averaged 7.8 points and 4.2 rebounds in 18.7 minutes per game, seeing time in 21 contests before suffering a season-ending injury in mid-February. He scored in double figures 10 times, including a 15-point effort in his season debut against Florida State College on Nov. 2. His best field goal percentage was a perfect 6-for-6 performance on the way to 13 points against Lamar State College on Nov. 25. He hauled in at least six rebounds on eight separate occasions, including season-highs of nine rebounds against Enterprise State (Nov. 8) and Trinity Valley (Nov. 26). He additionally displayed a clutch gene, nailing the game-tying and go-ahead free throws in the final seconds of a victory at Pensacola State on Feb. 1.
Miguel played his freshman campaign at the College of Central Florida. He took part in 29 games in 2018-19, collecting 5.9 points and 3.2 rebounds per outing while shooting 54.9 percent (78-of-142) from the floor. He helped guide the Patriots to a 19-13 record.
Miguel cracked double digits in the scoring column on three different occasions as a collegiate rookie, tossing in a season-best 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting at Eastern Florida State on Feb. 9. He grabbed a season-high eight rebounds against Pensacola State on Dec. 9.
Prepping at West Oaks Academy in Orlando, Fla., Miguel was a force for head coach Kenny Gillion. He had several big performances for the Flames, including a 27-point, 16-rebound effort in a win against defending Florida 6A state champion Leesburg during his senior campaign.
Miguel additionally boasts international experience as he represented his home country of Angola in the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup in 2017. He averaged 7.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in that event against some of the top competition in the world.
Miguel comes from an athletic background as his younger brother Selton plays basketball at South Florida, following two seasons at Kansas State. His mother Suzana was a member of the Angola National Handball Team.
In addition to Miguel, UT Martin’s 2022-23 signing class includes Jalen Myers (Madison, Ala./Hinds CC), Williams (Montgomery, Ala./Troy), Jordan Sears (Daytona Beach, Fla./Gardner-Webb) and Parker Stewart (Union City, Tenn./Indiana).