SF Michael Milton
Plano Senior (Plano, TX)
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 185
Jr stats: 16.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg
I attended high school in the Richardson/Plano area in North Dallas, so I try to keep my ear to the ground for Stanford recruits in my old backyard. Football is largely the breeding ground for that area, with prospects pouring out of Lake Highlands and Plano schools with great regularity, but my interest was piqued when I recently heard of a hoopster with grades, skills and a mutual interest with Stanford. Michael Milton is a rising senior at Plano Senior High School with a strong academic bend and an unusually strong handle for someone at his size. He has earned some of the more quiet attention this spring and summer, and I would peg him as one of the potential "coming out" players to watch this summer. Though recruitniks like to pay the hot and heavy attention to the 'known names' in this recruiting class, I would remind them of the case of Matt Haryasz last year. He was known on a 'watch and wait' level by some schools, but his performances during the summer after his junior year catapulted him to instant national attention. As I've watched Matt now this summer, he already looks like a rare impact player and the steal of this class. That isn't to overhype the possibilities of Michael Milton, but instead put him context.
He describes his recruitment as generally defined by "schools who pride themselves in academics." Stanford, SMU, Rice, Princeton and other Ivies fit that bill. He also has been receiving a good deal of interest from Arizona State, UMass, Baylor and Illinois. On the subject of Stanford, Michael says that he has received a "whole lot of mail" and has also been called by the Stanford staff. He has received a Stanford application and was almost done when I recently talked with him. All the teacher recommendations were in, and he was in the final revision and reread stages of his essays.
Speaking of academics, Michael has currently a 3.64 cummulative GPA from his 9th through 11th grade terms in Plano, and recently scored a 1140 on the SAT in early June. He further volunteered that he scored an even split, with a 570 on both the quantitative and verbal sections. Though that SAT might be enough to push through Stanford admissions, he will retake it for his personal benefit to shoot for a better score. In the classroom, Michael has taken AP and honors classes in computer science, English, pre-calculus and physics. Math and science are Michael's favorite subjects, which has him looking hard at engineering in college.
On the basketball court, Michael plays and projects as a lefty wing forward, though he can play the off-guard with his ballhandling. As Michael grew up, his dad groomed him to be a point guard, with unending dribbling drills and work. His height has shot past that of the traditional point guard, but he still has a great handle at 6'6". Michael describes his greatest assets as his size and ability to put the ball on the floor, particularly the ability to create his own shots. He has also set goals for how to improve his game this summer.
"I want to work on each and every facet of my game. I can continue to work on my dribble and shots, but I also want to really hit the weights. Strength is the key to many players' success. It's arguably the difference between high school and college players."
To that end, Michael's father has put him in touch with former all-pro NFL safety Thomas Everett, and the two of them are working out hard together this summer whenever Michael can between games and travel tournaments. His travel team is a familiar one in national AAU basketball, the Texas Blue Chips. This Adidas squad just finished up at the 3-Stripe event in New York, and will be at the Big Time next week in Vegas, followed by the Best of Summer in Los Angeles. I'll be at the Big Time once again and will be checking out Michael in person for a better report on his game and prospects.
Michael's recruiting plan is to play hard this summer and then evaluate who is recruiting him in earnest. He will then narrow down his list and shoot to sign in the November period. He says that he is very intrigued by the level of Illinois' interest, and has strong feelings toward Stanford.
"I really like Stanford, and just couldn't make a bad decision to go there."
Interestingly, Michael actually grew up on the West Coast and particularly liked watching UCLA games as a kid. He has not seen any substantive interest from the Bruins at this time.
As Michael Milton looks past the summer and to his senior season at Plano Senior, he has a heavy responsibility with 4 of 5 senior starters lost from last year. Michael says that much of Plano's success last year came from team chemistry.
"The guys really liked playing together and clicked out on the floor. I need to come with a positive attitude to everything I do this next year, with a strong work ethic, inspiration and leadership."
Individually, Michael knows he will be a more focal point of attention his senior year, and has lofty goals. As a team, he wants to push Plano Senior to the state finals and then win it all. He also wants to make sure his team has fun along the way. Individually, Michael wants to continue to pattern his game after some NBA greats: Michael Jordan, Tracy McGrady and Kobe Bryant. The unifying characteristic of those players for Michael is that they "can do anything they want anywhere on the floor." He admires multi-faceted players who can take over games outside or in the low post.
Though one very interesting model for Michael is the Big O, Oscar Robertson. You can't scarcely find someone in today's youth who really knows or much less appreciates arguably the greatest all-around player in the history of basketball. Michael is a throwback in that respect, and gets excited to elaborate.
"It all started about the fifth or sixth grade. One day my dad was telling me about how my game would eventually resemble Big O's game. I didn't know who Big O was at the time. So my dad began to explain by describing the way he shot the ball, the way he played the game, and the things that he used to do on the court. He also told me that Oscar was part of the revolutionary breed of big point guards during his era. I guess I kind of considered myself a revolutionary also. I became excited about Oscar Robertson. As a result, I paid attention whenever I heard or read his name. Eventually, I was able to watch a few film clips of Oscar during his playing days. Even before I saw him on TV, I was astonished by his legend, and it continued to grow on me. I liked the way he jumped over defenders to shoot, the way he dribbled the ball up the court, the way he passed the ball, the way he rebounded, defended and, most importantly, his decision-making. He was able to do everything. I was further amazed when I learned that he averaged a triple double for an entire season. As I conti