On Thursday night, Eleanor Roosevelt senior guard Chaun Miller will take the court at Comcast Center for the third straight year. The twelfth-ranked Raiders’ Maryland 4A semifinal game against No. 7 North Point could be the last game for one of the most accomplished players in the Greenbelt school’s storied basketball history.
In last week’s 80-47 win over Laurel in the opening round of the 4A South Region playoffs, Miller became only the school’s fourth player to score 1,000 career points. At a school that has produced five All-Met players and won a state title over the past dozen years, Miller is among elite company that includes All-Met players Eddie Basden (2001), Darnell Dodson (2007) and Delonte West (player of the year in 2001, and now on the roster of the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks).
“It’s crazy to be in the conversation that has professional players,” Miller said, standing outside the school’s gym, where he admired those players’ photographs hanging from the wall.
Miller said he wasn’t even sure 1,000 points was within reach entering the game two weeks ago and only during Coach Brendan O’Connell’s postgame talk did he learn he had passed the milestone. A game ball, hidden in a box, was presented to Miller.
“I couldn’t stop smiling,” the 6-foot-4 Miller recalled. “The first thing in my mind was that I’ve been blessed to play with a group of guys who are willing to pass me the ball and play with me.”
In his time at Eleanor Roosevelt, Miller has seen a dramatic transformation on the court. As a 6-foot-3 freshman, he was the Raiders’ starting center, a defense-first player who, he said, was only allowed to take layups.
After the season, he was at the school often before class, working to improve his shooting touch. And he did, moving to the power forward spot as a sophomore. Last year, he was a shooting guard and this season, he has been all over the court — even filling as the team’s point guard when senior Akil Charles was injured.
“He couldn’t shoot, played position defense, rebounded and took layups,” O’Connell recalled of Miller’s first season. “And he really worked on his offensive game with the ability to shoot the ball and especially the last couple years being able to put it on the floor, too. Defense has always been there. He bought right into our defense from day one.”
The Raiders (21-4) have built a strong tradition of winning (three straight 4A South Region titles) behind its stingy defense, of which Miller is a key element. Clamping down on an opposing player or passing th e ball has often taken precedent for him. But this year, he has taken on a larger scoring load for the team, averaging a career-high 13.2 points per game.
“I’m really starting to be comfortable with that role,” he said. “I know sometimes it’ll be a situation where I need to put my team on my back.”
Because of grades and SAT scores, Miller said he has no college scholarship offers and will likely be headed to a junior college to play basketball next season. But for at least one more high school game, Miller will have a chance to add to his points milestone — and even better, he says, a state title.
“I’m just trying to get out and get a W for my team,” he said. “... If I do add on top my total points, it’ll be great. But if I score zero points and we win, that’s all matters.”
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