Caption: Miles Miller (1) drives past an Alabama-Huntsville defender en route to scoring a bucket. The Choctaws defeated the Chargers, the now #7 team in the South region, 73-70. Choctaw Athletics
Randy Bolden has high praise for sophomore guard Miles Miller. In his first year as head basketball coach, Bolden has relied upon a handful of players that he had previously coached; however, Miller has arguably had the biggest impact of any of them.
Missing just one game this season, Miller had to step into a much larger role during the second half of the season after the Choctaws lost some of their key players including starting guards Lamont Berzat and Tradavis Thompson.
“I’ve known Miles since he was probably 13-14 years old,” said Bolden, who coached Miller at Meridian High School his freshman through junior year. “He’s been that coach on the floor, not only on the floor but off the court as well. He’s been very instrumental in trying to create the culture that we’re trying to create here at MC.”
With Berzat out, Miller had to step into the role of the starting point guard and has filled the role well. Averaging 35 minutes per game, Miller has rarely sat down in the last month as he has been one of the only players Bolden has trusted with running his up-tempo offense. Bolden’s trust has paid off for the Choctaws as Miller’s assist average has jumped all the way to four per game on the season, boosted by a 10 assist performance against CBU and a nine assist performance against Montevallo.
“We’re gonna go as Miles goes,” said Bolden, putting a lot of trust in that young guard, which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering their history.
Since moving into his role as point guard Miller has become even more of a student of the game. Living with Berzat, the former starter, Miller said he has had a lot of conversation about playing the position, “just picking Lamont’s brain and watching a lot of film.”
Miller has always been a student of the game, and playing for Bolden since ninth grade has certainly forged a special relationship between him and his coach.
“He was a very eager kid that wanted to learn and get better,” said Bolden.
And get better he did. Miller ended his high school career rated as a 3-star basketball prospect by 247Sports. Miller was all set to sign with the Naval Academy after his senior season to play basketball for the Midshipmen when his future plans were drastically changed.
“My story is really crazy. Originally I was committed to the Naval Academy and then I had an incident where I was shot and my leg was broken.”
Because the break was so bad, a metal rod had to be inserted into Miller’s leg. This made it impossible for him to attend the Naval Academy because of regulations saying that Midshipmen cannot have any metal in their bodies. Miller then turned to Ole Miss because of the relationship he had formed with their coaching staff during his recruitment. He would spend the next year re-learning how to walk, putting on weight, and recovering from his injury. Miller, who is currently listed at 170 pounds, said that after his surgery he had dropped down to 135 pounds.
After spending a year at Ole Miss, Miller transferred to Lipscomb University where he got the opportunity to play under Lennie Acuff, who was named GSC Coach of the Year eight different times in his 22 years at Alabama-Huntsville. Over two years, Miller averaged 2.9 points per game and even notched 15 starts his freshman year.
Miller entered the transfer portal after having some injury trouble and being kept off the court during much of his sophomore season. According to Miller, he had noticed his former coach’s new position before even entering the portal, making it an easy decision to reunite with Bolden.
“He’s definitely been the same Coach Bolden,” said Miller. “I’ve had the opportunity to play for some amazing coaches for sure, but with Coach Bolden, the relationship that we have, it’s hard to compare.”