Steamboat Springs Jake Miller took the common-sense approach to not playing.
After not seeing much playing time his junior year, Miller went to work in the weight room and on the basketball court.
He got stronger and quicker, which helped him hide some of his physical shortcomings. On the court, he worked on his post moves and shooting.
In the end, Miller will do something he once thought not possible.
The Steamboat Springs High School senior will play basketball at Nebraska Wesleyan in Lincoln, Neb., next season.
Miller, a first-team All Western Slope League selection this season, led the Sailors with 13.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.
“His work ethic is what really made that kid a basketball player,” said Devin Borvansky, who worked with Miller between his junior and senior years. “His attention to detail was the other.”
Anyone who watched Miller play basketball had to appreciate his nod to the old school. Miller never was the most athletic player on the court and almost always had to give away size.
But through his acumen for the game, Miller often distinguished himself as the best player on the court.
Miller said playing college basketball didn’t seem like a reality until he sat down with boys coach Luke DeWolfe in January.
By then, Miller had started to establish himself as one of the better players on the Western Slope.
“Jake, really from his junior to senior year, put in a real solid effort,” DeWolfe said. “It was just a lot of focus. I think he really understood where the weakness in his game was and what he needed to do to get better.”
He also looked at North Park University and Lake Forest College in Chicago, and he also considered Linfield College in Oregon.
He visited Nebraska in April and liked what he saw.
“I really like their coaching staff when I visited there,” he said. “It seemed very similar to our coaching staff here. The principles were similar and based on defense.”
Miller played forward in high school but will be asked to move to the wing in Nebraska. The team plays in the Association of Division III Independents and features a junior varsity team.
Miller said he hopes to be playing varsity by the time he is a junior.
“I have got to put in the same amount of work this summer as I did after my junior year if I want a chance of playing on that team,” he said.
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com