Ian Miller Leads United Faith To Title

RALEIGH, N.C. – Ian Miller has Word of God's number. The senior point guard continued his winning ways against the Rams as United Faith captured the Word of God Thanksgiving Invitational.

The last time United Faith and Word of God met it was for the 1-A private schools state championship and it ended in dramatic fashion with Ian Miller dropping in a 3-pointer, ending John Wall's career with a loss.

On Saturday night, the drama – nor the stakes – weren't quite as high but a preponderance of talent made for an eventful 80-66 United Faith victory. Miller, a Florida State signee, led the charge with 25 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists.

Miller's evolution as a point guard is nearly complete. He's turned himself from a high-scoring sophomore guard into a heady, senior point man who know has the talent, poise and knack for scoring that should make him an impact guard for Leonard Hamilton's bunch.

A major asset for Miller Saturday night was power forward Kadeem Green. "Kadeem's ready to help out even more this year," Miller said. Green's length gives him a natural edge and he finished off plays against Word of God.

C.J. Leslie's, Scout.com's No. 12 ranked player in the senior class, ended up with a game-high 34 points and 11 rebounds. Leslie had 11 at the break but led a final rally in the fourth quarter. As athletic a player as there may be in the senior class, luck was not on Leslie's side.

Junior small forward Dezmine Wells was saddled with foul trouble. Then, junior guard Bishop Daniels missed half of the game as he left with a knee injury. Wells did return in the fourth with a huge burst of energy but at that point it was too little too late. The trio of Leslie, Wells and Daniels give the Holy Rams a combination of athleticism that has few peers.

The game featured Miller (No. 47) and Leslie (12) plus a host of talented and highly-regarded underclassmen. Wells is ranked No. 60 in the junior class.

United Faith has a stable of potential national-level recruits. Seven-footer Peter Jurkin is a promising defensive minded center. Power forward Hanner Parea, also a sophomore, has the look of a high-major player. Both young kids are relying on their instincts at this point and playing on natural talent. Each will need to add feel and skill development; both figure to be highly recruited in time.

Freshmen guards Patrick Rooks and Alerick Freeman receive minutes. Senior guard Paris Roberts is a Division I player with a stroke. Roberts played with poise and his touch helped Miller early. Senior forward Nemanja Mikic will be a small school signee in the spring.

The third-place game in the four-team event was won by Wayne Country Day. It handled a Jireh Prep team that dressed just five players. WCD's Reco McCarter, a senior forward, had 26 points and 10 rebounds for the Chargers. His running mate, power forward Tim Hobbs attacked and finished strongly. He'll be a key player for the North Carolina Central Eagles next fall. McCarter signed with Virginia Commonwealth.

The game drew a pair of head coaches. North Carolina State's Sidney Lowe attended the game as did VCU's Shaka Smart. Assistants from Charlotte, N.C. State and VCU were also there.

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