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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Miller showcases talent for statewide audience

Friday, July 16, 2010

Greencastle senior Mallory Miller was one of 150 players who took part in Tuesday's IBCA-IHSAA Underclassmen Showcase at Ben Davis High School. [Order this photo]
INDIANAPOLIS -- For anyone who's paid attention to West Central Conference girls' hoops in recent years, it isn't news that Greencastle's Mallory Miller can play ball.

One of the best shooters around, the two-time Banner Graphic Putnam County Player of the Year has been taxing defenses for three years at the varsity level.

On Tuesday, though, Miller had a chance to shine on a statewide stage as part of the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association-IHSAA Underclassmen Showcase at Ben Davis High School. According to her coach, Miller made her hometown proud.

"I thought it was really good for Mallory to go there and see that she is one of the better players around, which I always believed," GHS Coach Brad Key said. "She's probably one of the better shooters in the state, and I'm not trying to fluff her up or anything. She can flat shoot the ball.

"I think it was good for her to see that she was as good as any girl out there," he added. "A lot of girls are bigger and strong, but if you can just shoot the ball, then you can shoot it. It doesn't matter how big or strong you are."

For Miller, simply being chosen as one of the state's 100 best players was a big honor.

"I was totally surprised yet very excited," Miller said. "I was honored by it just to think that Greencastle is small and to think I was chosen as one was a real blessing."

As the day approached, Key encouraged Miller to think it was more than an honor -- it was an opportunity.

"She was kind of nervous going into it, and I kept telling her, 'This is an honor; this is what you've been working for,'" he said. "She's kind of an introvert anyway, so I had to tell her, 'Get some shots up. No one cares if you're a good passer at this thing. People want to see what you can do on the floor in terms of scoring,' which she did. She did a great job."

The day was filled with a number of fundamentals drills as well as four games. It exposed Miller to the talent found throughout the state.

"It definitely opened my eyes to what competition is out there," Miller said. "It showed me where I am as a player to see these other girls that are the top girls of Indiana and what dedication they've put forth in basketball."

At the same time, it exposed Miller's talent to college coaches and scouts, as well as other high school coaches, which made Key proud.

"It was cool for me to have her play in front of a lot of other high school coaches," Key said. "All of a sudden, she was getting recognition from other coaches around the state, not just (South Putnam coach) Debbie Steffy or someone around here who already knows she can play."

Key credits his senior's work ethic for all her accomplishments on the court.

"She works hard. She's one of the hardest working high school kids I've seen since I've been a coach," he said. "I know I haven't been around a long time, but she takes it seriously. If she's missing her shot, she wants to get it corrected immediately. She's always in the gym. She's always one of the first ones in and last ones out. It's kind of cliché, but it's the truth."

After seeing the quality of other players around the state, Miller's hard work will continue as her senior season approaches.

"I think it motivates me to really go to each open gym and not just treat it as open gym, but to really put forth my work and to better my skills before my senior year," Miller said.