Hayden Miller’s college basketball journey is officially under way following a Wednesday night announcement that he would be attending the University of Nebraska-Omaha and joining its men’s basketball team as a preferred walk on.
Miller chose UNO over Doane in making his final decision, but the truth is that Miller could have attended any number of colleges for athletic opportunities not just restricted to basketball.
Miller’s was a star both offensively and defensively for the Lourdes football team. He also starred as a short stop for the Nebraska City High School baseball program and the city’s American Legion team.
Although baseball was a consideration, Miller said he knew what he wanted going into the process.
“It was pretty much basketball the whole way,” Miller said.
Academics might have been the ultimate tie breaker between Doane and UNO as Miller said he really liked the criminology program at the Omaha school.
The great coaches and outstanding facilities enhanced UNO’s case with Miller.
No doubt, with the final decision and the announcement made, Miller is breathing easier. Sports-minded Nebraska Citians were all curious about where Miller would go for his college career and when he would announce.
Miller said he is happy to be able to tell people that he is firmly committed to the Mavs’ program now.
Actually, he had a little bit of fun with the announcement with a photo created by baseball buddy Brendan Maddox showing what Miller might look like wearing UNO colors. Appropriately enough, the chosen jersey number was 33 and Miller is holding up three fingers.
He made a living scoring from the outside while racking up school record numbers from three-point range. Miller was also known a great ball handler who could make it to the bucket, score and get his teammates involved in offensive plays on any trip down the floor.
It wasn’t always like that, however.
Miller grew into being a star and leader for the Knights. His talent was evidenced from the beginning of the career but he waited his turn. At first, he came off the bench. After proving clutch over and over again, it became increasingly hard to keep him out of the starting line up.
And, well, the rest is history.
That’s a pattern that Miller will look to repeat as a Maverick. At the start of things, Miller plans to work on getting better, both basketball skill wise and strength and conditioning wise. And he’ll be ready for any opportunity.
“Whatever they need me to do, that’s what I am going to do,” Miller said. “I will be taking on a new role. I will have to adapt to that.”
While Miller goes off to join the Division I UNO program, he leaves behind a lot of people who cheered for him as a Knight and who look forward to cheering for him as a Maverick.
The Knight star definitely appreciates all the support that he’s gotten thus far.
“I think it’s a credit to the people I had around me,” he said.
Miller added that he appreciated all the help that he got from Coach Joe Tynon and was happy to have gotten to play with his brothers.
He got help from other talented teammates too. In the state championship games of the last two years it was Julius Sakinis and Quinten Vasa making major plays. And any number of other names could be noted in other big-game settings.
“It was never just me,” Miller said.
There will be a lot of talented players helping him along the way at his new school and a lot for Miller to learn and adapt to, but one would think that with his clutch abilities, success at the college level is only a matter of time.