While he may no longer have the chance to play alongside many Hand Tigers as he did back at the AAU level of basketball, Madison resident Miller Staten is still making an impact in the local basketball community, while expanding into new areas of leadership.
Before becoming a point guard and senior co-captain at Pomfret High School, Miller made his initial impact on the court during 1st grade, the same year he moved to Madison. Playing recreation and travel ball until high school with current Tigers, including Brendan Bilcheck, Kyle Anderson, Matt Wallack, Ryan Wallack, Chris Teeling, and Marcel Barnaby, Miller decided to take a different trek to the boarding school of Pomfret. While also giving his best on and off the court at school, Miller still gives back to where it all began, as he volunteers during his one season at home at a local basketball camp.
"I work there every summer as a coach, and I owe a lot of my basketball skills to him and still have a great relationship with him," says Miller of working in the Bill Barker Hoop Dreams Camp. "It's now interesting to see it from both sides as a coach. You work your way up as a coach with seniority, moving from an assistant coach of the younger league team up to head coach of the older team."
When he is not volunteering to the next generation of ballers, Miller is continuously developing his own game, having worked his way to the captain spot. In addition to leading Pomfret on the hardwood, Miller has also gained the added dose of leading others in a dorm hall for 30 sophomore boys.
"I left Pomfret my freshman year, and went to Hand for a short time," says Miller. "I got back into the school upon my junior year, and as a senior this year, I was nominated by my teachers for the job. It really meant a lot to earn their trust to earn the nomination and the job itself."
In addition to maturing into a leader on and off the paint, Miller has also expanded his horizons via joining the school a cappella group, which will be making a trip overseas this spring to Ireland. Again, as with anything new Miller has taken on in the last two years, he anticipates it with great excitement and joy.
Another aspect of life that Miller has blossomed into has been hitting the books; he maintains a high academic standard while being responsible for his team's success and fellow students. The point guard pupil admits it has been draining and time consuming, but he has grown into it with a routine.
"Boarding school is pretty rigorous, as everyone must play a sport every term of the year," says the high honor roll senior, who has committed to Union College. "I typically have class until 3:30 p.m., then a half hour between school ending and practice beginning. It has been rough with also being a prefect, yet I have gotten myself into a nice routine to get it all done."
Miller's head coach on the court has not only seen him mature as a player for the Griffins, but also a leader away from it with his fellow teammates.
"He has really grown into his position as captain and has come a long way," says Pomfret Head Coach Dolph Clinton. "As a freshman, he got some playing time and actually won Team Defensive Player of the Year, which he also won last year. He leads from the defensive end with his attitude and work ethic. He also does a lot of 1-on-1 work with the guys and leads through his actions, not his words. The team plays better when Miller is on the floor."
While making leaps and bounds through his new tasks on campus, Miller has learned many intangibles on life.
"It's weird, because basketball has always been a part of my life, yet it has developed into a passion of mine," says Miller, who thanks parents Jim and JoAnne, along with brothers TJ, Eddie, Joey, and also Coach Clinton for his success. "It's a game, but it has helped me through rough times. I always find myself shooting some baskets after a bad day."