Lancaster’s Miles competes for world title
Player with area ties connected to Men’s U19 USA Olympic World Cup Basketball Team
A trip from Lancaster, Texas to the tiny country of Latvia in the Baltic region of Northern Europe, is a long journey across the globe, but it’s an even greater jump for a dreamer who started playing basketball at age 3.
But that’s where Lancaster High School’s Mike Miles finds himself, as a newly-elected team member for the 2020 Olympics U.S.A. (Under 19) Men’s Basketball World Cup Team – to be played out in July of 2021 because of last year’s world pandemic. This prestigious tournament is scheduled for July 3-11 in Riga, Latvia.
Miles was a noted 2020 graduate and basketball team leader on the Tigers squad as a four-year Letterman. His records are very impressive, but the biggest one to fathom is the fact that he scored over 2,000 points during his high school years at LHS. As a senior, Miles led his team to the state tournament after a wire-to-wire run as the state’s top-ranked 5A team. He averaged 21.4 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals for 36-1 Lancaster on his way to being named SportsDay’s All-Area Boys Basketball “Player of the Year”. As cool as that title might have felt, it was completely overshadowed by COVID-19 keeping him and his team from finishing-out their final run for the state championship, with Miles set to lead the way.
Miles also has connections with Waxahachie Indians high school head coach Greg Gober, who has been Mike’s A.A.U. select team’s leader – for the Texas Titans – for seven years.
The fall TCU signee, in his freshman year (2020-2021) at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, has been a pretty sweet voyage as well. Now, Miles is touted as possibly the best collegiate guard in the country, and his selection to Team U.S.A. (U19) solidifies his chance to prove what he’s made of during the Olympic basketball games already underway, dates set for July 3 through 11.
Miles says, “It feels great to make the Olympic team. I have always wanted to play for my country, so having this opportunity means the world to me.”
When asked if he ever envisioned himself playing b-ball on a huge stage like the Summer Olympics, he humbly admits, “Not to be said in a bragging way, but, YES – I have always believed in myself and I’ve been willing to out-work others around me to make sure that I was a level above what is usually expected.”
Miles’ former head coach at Lancaster, Ferrin Douglas, said of his former star, “Words can’t explain how proud I am of Mike! He has always put in the extra work, and he continues to do so at the highest of levels. I always knew that he was the best point guard in the country this year. Hopefully, now, others will be able to see him shine in the world’s spotlight, too.”
Douglas continues, “Mike is a very gifted athlete with a high basketball IQ. He is without a doubt a fierce competitor, and thus far, he is the highest celebrated Lancaster Tiger basketball player ever!”
During Coach Douglas’ 14-year run as Lancaster’s head coach, the Tigers have secured 3 State Championships and made numerous trips to the State tournament. His program has seen 41 former players receive basketball scholarships – 14 Division I recipients and 27 Division II and III placements.
Miles’ mother, Mickey Miles says, “I won’t be traveling to Latvia to watch Mike play in-person, but he knows that I will be cheering my heart out for him back at home in Lancaster.”
The USA under 19 team was split between six players who just finished their first season at the collegiate level, and six others who are set to start their college careers this coming year.
The team will be coached by TCU basketball coach Jamie Dixon.
“... The process of selecting this 12-player group was really difficult given the amount of talent we have had at training camp,” Dixon said in a written statement. “Everyone has been working hard, we are growing closer as a group, which is really important. I am excited about the team that the committee put together as we now are in Latvia and currently in the midst of the beginning stages of competing for a gold medal.”
“Although the committee had to make some tough decisions in the selection process, we are thrilled with the potential this team brings to the court, its length, basketball IQ, defensive prowess and offensive abilities should make us a strong team, and I am looking forward to the challenge of competing in the U19 World Cup in July. For some of our guys, it will be the first time leaving the country and everyone is excited about having the honor of representing their country.”
Dixon is already familiar with Miles, who just finished his first season at TCU. As a freshman Horned Frog, Miles averaged 13.6 points per game and 3.1 assists this past season.
The United States will be one of 16 countries represented. Team USA was paired in a four-team group with Australia, Mali and Turkey.
Here’s a look at the full roster:
Patrick Baldwin Jr. (Hamilton H.S./Sussex, Wis.)
Kennedy Chandler (Sunrise Christian Academy, Kan./Memphis, Tenn.)
Jonathan Davis (Wisconsin/La Crosse, Wis.)
Caleb Furst (Blackhawk Christian School/Fort Wayne, Ind.)
Chet Holmgren (Minnehaha Academy/Minneapolis, Minn.)
Harrison Ingram (St. Mark’s School/Dallas, Texas)
Jaden Ivey (Purdue/South Bend, Ind.)
Ryan Kalkbrenner (Creighton/St. Louis, Mo.)
Kenneth Lofton Jr. (Louisiana Tech/Port Arthur, Texas)
Mike Miles (TCU/Lancaster, Texas) ***
Adam Miller (Louisiana State/Chicago, Ill.)
Peyton Watson (Long Beach Poly Tech H.S./Long Beach, Calif).
SPECIAL NOTE: As of today’s publication date, Team USA’s current record is a perfect 4-0, and they were set to complete against Senegal (a West African country) at 9 a.m. on Friday at Riga, Latvia.