Former IU blue chip recruit Miller is again within the recreation | Sports activities
BLOOMINGTON – The journey from blue-chip basketball recruit to Indiana Hoosier and beyond has led Charlie Miller to help others realize their own basketball dreams.
Miller, 44, developed a successful grassroots basketball program at the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. But it was not without risk. Miller’s wife was eight months pregnant with the couple’s first child when he quit a successful company job to pursue his passion almost nine years ago.
“I gave it my all and just trusted what we wanted to build,” said Miller.
Today, Miller’s Attack Basketball Academy develops hundreds of players from third grade through high school. Based in Carrollton, Texas, Miller travels the country coaching various teams at AAU tournaments. Miller describes himself as a holistic coach.
“I’m doing a lot of things that I missed as a player,” said Miller. “Don’t live vicariously again, rather reflect. What did I lack in confidence? How can I help this player gain substance in this area? How can I get them to understand coach talk? Coach told you that, he really meant that, she really meant that. Keep doing it Keep going. Keep growing. “
Growing up in South Miami, Florida just blocks from the University of Miami campus, Miller’s first obsession was soccer. Miller climbed chain link fences to watch soccer practice in Miami and searched the dumpster practices for any leftover Hurricanes gear that the players carried and had thrown away.
As an athlete, Miller was initially a star youth baseball pitcher until he started tuning a basketball at age 12 and became obsessed with the sport. Renowned South Miami’s basketball coach Charlie Funk noticed Miller’s talent at a young age and invited him to the school’s gym for training at 5 a.m. as a seventh grader. At the end of Miller’s high school career, he scored over 3,000 points, averaging more than 30 points as a senior, to earn the 1994 Florida Gatorade Player of the Year award.
Expectations were high when Miller, a 6-foot-7-linker, was recruited to the IU in 1994 by former coach Bob Knight. He had drawn comparisons to another smooth-shot left-handed man who had just left the IU, Calbert Cheaney. But Miller struggled to find consistency in four seasons with the Hoosiers. He finished his career with 810 points and 141 assists from 1994-98 while getting in and out of the starting XI during his four-year career.
“I did my best with what was presented to me in terms of minutes, the game and as a team leader,” said Miller. “I will graduate in four years, four years and a summer semester. I had to take a six week course, but that was it.
“I ended up playing professionally for six years because I was working in Indiana. So when I look back I did what I could, if more, probably who knows. But when I think about what I’ve done, how I’ve managed to understand what’s at stake now, I’ve done exactly what I should have done to be where I am now. “
IU has reached the NCAA tournament in all of Miller’s four seasons but failed to come out on the first weekend. It was a turbulent time. Knight struggled to get his message across to a new generation of gamers. The Neil Reed suffocation incident had not surfaced, but Miller and IU teammates had witnessed it during training in 1997.
“Coach Knight was tired,” said Miller. “In my sophomore year it was always – there was always negative press around the postseason, and it was more about him and his way … I think that played a big part in making everyone tired, mentally, physically , emotionally, are simply drained and want the season to be over. “
Two years later, the video surfaced of Knight choking Reed, and Knight was finally fired in 2000 after grabbing an IU student tightly by the arm. Miller said he had come to terms with his relationship with Knight. He recalled a phone conversation with Knight a year after graduation when Knight apologized for not allowing him to “just play.”
“When it came to playing time, there was no trust,” said Miller. “And I understand now. I get it. It was an inconsistent game. But what he said to me when I graduated and now playing my first year as a professional ball, it really brought me something. I’m being honest with you, I cried because I thought – I just thought it was me. I just thought I wasn’t that good. I just thought I couldn’t play. “
Miller said his last meeting with Knight, who is now 80 in Bloomington, was at a steakhouse in the Dallas area a few years ago. He was joined by one of Texas Tech’s most distinguished players, the late Andre Emmett. Miller said Knight also helped him get a spot in the Summer League with the Cleveland Cavaliers when former IU player Randy Wittman was head coach and another former IU player – IU men’s new basketball coach Mike Woodson – one was by Wittman’s assistant.
“That was a great opportunity, a great look,” said Miller.
Miller’s six-year professional basketball career took him around the globe, from Finland to Switzerland to Germany to Portugal and even Venezuela. A career at Xerox followed, which promoted him to a subsidiary in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. A former Indiana basketball manager was opening a 17-seat basketball facility near Dallas during Miller’s time and wanted Miller to be the head coach. That failed during the 2008 economic meltdown, but a colleague who was a summer basketball coach reached out to Miller to teach a young player how to shoot.
Miller took it as a challenge, appeared in a suit and presented the diaries he had to keep throughout his IU career.
“He made three three-pointers for his first club game after our training and it was like organic growth from then on,” said Miller. “One led to two, two led to three. Hey, I’m training. “
In addition to coaching, Miller has found opportunities in the media and public speaking. He has appeared on various Indiana basketball podcasts over the past several years and is hosting an Evansville-based radio show Indiana Sports Beat with Jim Coyle on Monday morning.
Miller is excited about the new direction in IU basketball under Woodson and believes it will benefit junior All-American striker Trayce Jackson-Davis, who has NBA ambitions. He said Woodson’s work with Julius Randle as an assistant coach at the New York Knicks shows that Woodson can get the most out of versatile, athletic tall men.
“You’re pretty much the same player to me, power forward, great on the sidelines,” said Miller. “They were man-child growing up and Julius took off this year with that jump shot, and I think that’s what Trayce needs to develop, at least trust.”