One of the best parts of the spring grassroots basketball circuit is getting the opportunity to see new targets for the first time or watching targets emerge with their play in the spring. Sam Miller, a 6-foot-7, 215-pound forward from Gonzaga High School in Washington D.C., impressed at the Nike EYBL event in Hampton, Virginia, and then informed MusketeerReport that Xavier had been one of the first schools to start showing interest in him.
Miller flew under the radar as an underclassman, as he barely found minutes in his high school rotation and played for a lesser known AAU program, but after a breakout junior season for Gonzaga, he's now playing for one of the most well known AAU programs, Team Takeover, in the most prestigious grassroots league in the nation, Nike's EYBL.
That exposure has helped his recruitment pick up some.
"It's picked up a little bit. I've got 12 offers, the top ones being Gonzaga, Penn State, Rutgers and Lehigh," Miller said. "Then I've been getting interest from Florida, Xavier, Northwestern, Nebraska and a few others most recently."Xavier has been involved for a while now, even though Miller's is a name that hasn't come up much.
"I've heard from Xavier a lot," Miller added."They were on me really early. I text with Coach Pegues a lot."
Team Takeover has been great for the skilled forward in terms of getting noticed, but playing on the guard-heavy, fast-break oriented team hasn't necessarily been a dream fit for his offensive game. This has forced him to go outside his comfort zone a bit, and find other ways to make an impact outside of just scoring.
"Most coaches know that I'm a pretty skilled player, so I'm just trying to show that I can be tough and play in this high level of basketball with great athletes," he said.
Miller has a smooth shooting stroke that stretches out to the perimeter, but is at its best and nearly automatic from the midrange. Though he's not super quick laterally, he has good feet, and uses them to operate fluidly with a few different well-developed low-post moves. He's also not a great athlete, but is more than adequate when it comes to his jumping ability. He often finished with dunks at the rim, and he displayed great body control in Hampton. He also showed good vision when passing to cutters, particularly in mid-range isolation situations after he faced up, which is when a lot of players get tunnel-vision looking to go one-on-one.
As for the toughness he mentioned, that has been a knock on his game in the past, but in Hampton he was willing to bang in the paint and rebounded well in his area.
Miller's plan is to set up a handful of visits in June, though he's not quite sure where all he'll be stopping by just yet.
"I should be making a lot of visits in June," he said. "I'm not 100 percent sure where I'll go, but I just want to make it to all the schools that are talking to me a lot. Xavier will probably be one of them."
Here are some highlights of Miller in action: