Maurice Miller Proves Point

Though Maurice Miller of Memphis Raleigh-Egypt was among the nation's elite basketball prospects invited to attend the recent Nike All-America Camp at Indianapolis, he was not what you would call a happy camper.

Miller, who is rated the No. 15 point guard in the Class of 2007, was reduced to the role of Mr. Irrelevant on a team with a pair of wing forwards that never met a shot they didn't like. That's when Raleigh-Egypt head basketball coach Jimmy Adams, who has worked the Nike Camp for over a decade, came through with an assist to his star player.

"The first day that we played games, he was on a team with two selfish wings, two 6-5 kids," Adams told Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. "They wanted to hold the ball and play one-on-one and there wasn't much ball to go around. He was kind of pouty about not having played well because he hadn't gotten the ball much."

"We sat down and I said, 'It took a lot for you to get to this camp, and it's not the time nor the place to have your head up your butt about things that are going on with you here. This is your opportunity and you need to be thinking of it as your opportunity. Now make the most of it.'"

Adams reminded Miller of what he was and of what his responsibility was to himself and his team.

"So I asked him, 'What position do you play?' He said, 'Point guard.' I said, 'What do point guards do?' He said, 'Handle the basketball.' I said, 'Well, in order for you to show everybody what kind of point guard you are, you're going to have to have the ball in your hands.' He said, 'But they won't pass it to me,' and I said, 'Well, go get it,' and he did."

Miller also gave it back and had soon gained the trust and confidence of his shot-happy teammates.

"The guys on the team realized he was an outstanding point guard and started giving him the basketball because they knew he'd give it back to them," Adams explained. "The team started clicking and playing so well."

Miller's team played so well that he was eventually chosen to compete in the camp's all-star game.

"It was a good experience because you're playing with so many big names from around the world," said Miller, "I always knew I could play with those guys, so I didn't have a problem with it. I wasn't nervous at all."

Now with summer play over and before fall practice begins, Miller will have time to concentrate on trimming his long list of college choices to a more manageable number. Among the schools he is currently considering are: Georgia Tech, Mississippi, Virginia, Alabama, LSU, Memphis, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Connecticut, Illinois, Cincinnati and Stanford.

"I wanted him to be able to go through this summer without worrying about where he was going to school next year," Adams said. "I wanted him to focus on the All-America camp and AAU competition so that everybody could really see him for what he was. The schools that were really interested in him at the first of the summer were going to be interested in him at the end of the summer."

As a junior, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Miller led the Fighting Pharaohs to a 34-2 record and the Class-3A state semifinals. He scored a team-high 23 points in a 72-60 victory over Knoxville Bearden in the state quarterfinals. The big-game performance included perfect four-of-four shooting from 3-point range as he out dueled Bearden star Tony White Jr.

Maurice Miller is also an outstanding student and solid leader. He boasts a 4.6 GPA and is a very unselfish player whose mentality matches that of the prototypical point guard. He is the only lead guard the Vols have offered in the 2007 class, and if he signs with UT, Miller would be the only pure point Pearl has brought into the program, although he has signed several combo guards.

For now it's a waiting game, as the clock ticks down to Miller time.


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