Miller slides through cracks, inks with TW

By Ivan Sanders
STAR STAFF
isanders@starhq.com

   Just when it appeared B.J. Miller was ready to become a Milligan Buffalo, a reduction in the amount of scholarship money offered corresponding with a much more attractive offer from conference rival Tennessee Wesleyan resulted in Miller signing on at the Athens, Tennessee school to play both basketball and baseball.
   Miller signed on Friday in front of family, friends, and coaches at Elizabethton High School.
   "Being able to sign a good athlete out of the Elizabethton area like Miller with schools similar to us such as Milligan, King, and Virginia Intermont being right in this area is exciting," stated Wesleyan baseball coach Ashley Lawson. " It is a large asset and big attribute to our program to sign someone with Miller's abilities to come to Wesleyan from Elizabethton."
   Miller has more than proved his talent and abilities while wearing the Cyclone orange and black, both on the hardwood and the diamond.
   Miller played a big hand in leading the Cyclones to the state basketball tournament this season as well as helping the Cyclone baseball team advance to within one out of sub-state play last season and being a proven leader this season.
   "I am ready to play both basketball and baseball for Wesleyan because they have had excellent success in both sports as well as great coaches," stated Miller. "I don't like to lose and that is one thing that impressed me is their coaches feel the same way."
   Some of Miller's accolades from his senior season at Elizabethton include: setting a school record for threes in a game with 9, tying a school record for most points in a single game with 39, 1,231 career points, and hit .348 with 2 home runs, 10 stolen bases, and 12 runs batted in from his lead-off position in baseball.
   Lawson was not the only coach smiling on Friday as Wesleyan basketball coach Steve Adams sees a bright future for Miller, especially after the graduation of both his perimeter players next season.
   "The kid's a winner and a very good basketball player," said Adams. "I am excited about coming to the enemy's territory and making a steal in good talent like B.J. from this area."
   Said Miller: "I plan on making it hard on the guys in front of me because I am going to push them to get playing time. I think that will make them become better as well as helping me become a better player. I just plan on being patient and wait for my time to come while getting in extra work after practice shooting ball and hitting in the cage."
   Miller will have the luxury of teaming up with a friend of his that plans on attending Wesleyan from University High in Drew Harrell that has had paralleled success while a Junior Buc.
   "My dad and Drew are good friends and it will feel good to have someone I know there with me," quipped Miller.
   Miller plans on studying international business at Wesleyan and realizes the importance of being able to juggle two sports while getting a good education at the same time.
   "I realize it will be a challenge academically, but I think that managing my time to practice, play, and be a student will be something I can handle," added Miller. "I had just planned on playing baseball, but financially it worked out better for my parents for me to play both sports so I really didn't mind to play both."
   EHS coach Tony Hardin knows what a special athlete Wesleyan got when they signed Miller on board. He has had the privilege of watching Miller grow from an aspiring freshman basketball player to one that helped the Cyclones go to Murfreesboro in his last season.
   "B.J. has always been a clutch performer," said Hardin. "When the lights get bright and the situations get a lot tougher, the better B.J. becomes."
   Added Hardin: "Against Tennessee High his sophomore year, he stepped up and hit his very first varsity basket and everyone realized that he was here."
   Miller had nothing but praise for his home for the next four years.
   "The campus and facilities at Tennessee Wesleyan are really nice," said Miller. "I look forward to being a part of the team and contributing to help the program remain successful in my next four years there."
   Wesleyan baseball was ranked as high as 3rd nationally this season and was only six outs from the World Series before being defeated by Spaulding University in Louisville. They should finish out somewhere in the top 10 teams nationally in the finally rankings.
   With the signing of Miller, the basketball team has landed three freshman players that all led their respective teams to the state playoffs as high school seniors.
   According to Lawson, Miller has proven his talent to get recognition in being signed. From this point forward, it will be totally up to Miller as to what he can achieve.
   "Your athletic ability is what gets you to a school," said Lawson. "What you do with it is totally up to you."