Feature photo courtesy of Maria Miller.
Compared to most athletes at his level, Rodney Miller is relatively new to the game of basketball.
“I used to play baseball and then around the age of nine or 10, I hit a growth spurt,” Miller said. “I had the option to…try out basketball, so I decided to try something new and ever since then, I really loved it.”
Now, Miller, who is originally from New York, attends Oak Hill Academy, a boarding school in Virginia ranked #16 in Max Preps’ top 25 high school basketball programs. He plays center due to his uncommon ability to score with his back to the basket. His ambidextrousness allows him to be versatile with both hands, according to his teammate and Alabama commit Braxton Blackwell.
“[Miller is] able to use his right and left hand around the basket, shoot over his left shoulder, right shoulder,” Blackwell said. “That’s very rare nowadays.”
This summer, Miller hurt his wrist in a game and had surgery, which he said slowed him down somewhat in games.
“I learned valuable lessons like patience and how to overcome obstacles,” he wrote. “At the beginning of the season, I was hesitant to use my right hand, but I’ve overcome that and I’m finally getting to where I want to be.”
“He really worked hard to get back into shape. His confidence was there,” Blackwell said.
On a typical day of training, Miller wakes up at six to go to the gym and shoot. He’ll do some cardio on his own and at practice, the team runs plays, some shooting drills, cardio and then hits the weight room. Miller also takes weight training as a class.
“He’s a true center…he protects the paint very well,” his mother, Maria Miller said. “He’s an expert offensive player because he knows the paint and obviously, he’s tall.”
Blackwell praised Rodney Miller’s effort and energy that he puts into the game. “He’s a great leader on and off the court. Believes in himself. Great student, great student of the game,” Blackwell said. “We can count on him to get rebounds, get a bucket down low.”
As a testament to his leadership skills, last year Miller was team captain of the tight-knit team.
“We’re all like a family. We have a little brotherhood going on over here,” he said. “We just all hold each other accountable and pick each other up when we’re down.”
“He’s very level-headed and he’s not excitable. He’s the kind of player that coaches like because he understands the message the first time,” Maria Miller explained.
For the remainder of this year, he’s working on developing his body to prepare to play for the University of Miami.
Maria Miller said she thinks that Miami’s basketball program will be great for her son. “I think that the leadership at Miami is excellent,” she said. “He chose it himself. He didn’t have input from anyone else.”
— Canes Hoops (@CanesHoops) November 11, 2015
The two of them are both very excited for Rodney’s future at Miami. He’s also quite a fan of Miami’s coaching staff, especially Coach Jim Larranaga.
“I just love the atmosphere over there. I believe it’s a good fit for me and I think I’ll really be able to help affect the team the best I can. That’s what really drew to me to Miami,” Rodney Miller said.
Blackwell spoke confidently of Miller’s abilities. “I could see Rodney having big minutes his freshman year,” he said. “He has a chance to play if he plays hard right away.”
But Miller’s primary goal isn’t to get a certain amount of playing time.
“My goals for when I’m in college is to be the player you want to play with, be the teammate other people want to have,” he said. “I want to be a leader and then I’ll be vocal. I just want to perform and be able to add something to the team.”
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