Taking Steps

West Virginia's Keaton Miles has struggled so hard to score that some observers have wondered why he is still in West Virginia's starting lineup. However, those looking at just scoring may be missing some of the other things he is doing on the court.

Miles is averaging just 1.2 points per game -- prompting the idea that another player might be more productive in his starting role. However, those views don't take into account the other contributions Miles is making on the floor -- including some that don't necessarily show up in the stat book.

For example, Miles is improving defensively, and has the potential to become great in that role. With his lean frame and long arms, he reminds of former Mountaineer Devin Ebanks, who so able manned the point of WVU's 1-3-1 defense during its final four run. Miles is still learning, to be sure, but he believes that his abilities on defense have improved, and that they will help lead to more time on the floor in the future.

Those thoughts are backed up by some statistics. Despite averaging fewer than 16 minutes per game, Miles has nine steals -- by far the best steals per minute ration on the squad. He also takes care of the ball on the offensive end of the floor, even though he hasn't been shooting it well. He has seven assists against just four turnovers -- the best ratio on the team outside of Paul Williamson's perfect 3-0 mark. So, even though the shooting hasn't been there (23.8% through nine games), the Texas native isn't discouraged.

In this exclusive interview, Miles notes that he has talked to several coaches and his family about his scoring drought, and thinks that he has the key to breaking out of what has been, for him, a frustrating start to his career. He showed signs of doing that against the Islanders, hitting both of his shots from the field and appearing steadier in his decision on the offensive end of the floor.

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