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Friday, December 23, 2005

# Cookie finds his niche in Cincinnati

Rick Ryan
  • Cookie finds his niche in Cincinnati

  • A HOOP-IT-UPDATE on prep players past and present:

    The post-high school portion of his career started slowly for Josh “Cookie’’ Miller, but it’s sure picked up steam lately.

    Last season’s boys state player of the year, who didn’t find a home for his talents until September, has excelled at point guard for Harmony Community School, a prep basketball power in Cincinnati.

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    One of his latest exploits came Dec. 10 against Oak Hill Academy, the nation’s No. 2 ranked prep team, in the finals of the Bourbon County Shootout in Paris, Ky. Even though unbeaten Oak Hill won 78-68 for its 30th straight victory over the last two years, Miller took control of the game at one stretch, according to Harmony coach Travis McAvene.

    “Josh changed the whole complexion of the game,’’ McAvene said. “He just dominated. Even though he didn’t score much, he had eight assists and four steals and just gave their point guard fits.’’

    Miller, a late arrival at Harmony for the fall semester, has split time between the school’s “A” and “B” teams, which it dubs Elite and Select, respectively. The Elite team that played Oak Hill tough is 15-2 and the Select squad is 6-1. Miller leads the Select team in scoring and assists.

    In Select’s 128-24 blowout win against Christian Urban Ministries on Nov. 19, Miller set a school record with 20 assists. When Harmony’s Elite and Select teams met in the title game of their school’s own 13-team Queen City Classic on Dec. 3, McAvene was forced to coach against Miller.

    “Cookie lit me up for like 30 points, seven or eight assists and five, six steals,’’ McAvene said. “He was totally in control.’’

    Elite barely came away with a 98-90 victory over the Miller-led Select squad.

    “He’s doing phenomenal,’’ said McAvene, who hadn’t seen Miller play before the 5-foot-8 guard arrived in Cincinnati. McAvene said Miller has topped 20 or more points several times and also averages 6.5 assists and 4.5 steals.

    “He’s one of the best prep school point guards in the country,’’ McAvene said. “He doesn’t always play as much as he could because I’d already recruited four high-level-major guards. But he’s handled it well. He can play against these guys and they’re going to the SEC, the Big East, the Big Ten. That tells me he’s [good enough].’’

    Harmony guard Josh Tabb is bound for Tennessee, while teammates Tyrone Appleton, Marcus Rhodes and Deonte Vaughn will also be playing next winter at Division I programs.

    Miller should also soon find himself in a recruiting whirlwind, his coach said.

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