CERRITOS, Calif. -- The Chicagoland area doesn't have a lot of senior star power when it comes to high school basketball next season.
While downstate seniors rule the state, and the area has plenty of senior Division I prospects and quality high school players, there aren't a lot of local high-major recruits to keep tabs on.
Which is part of the reason the rising junior class is so intriguing.
Between guards like D.J. Steward, Morgan Park's Adam Miller and Whitney Young's quickly-rising guard Tyler Beard, there's a lot to like about that class from a local perspective.
Fresh off of a state championship as a sophomore at Morgan Park in Class 3A last season, Miller is hoping to become one of the area's major stars next season. Already flashing promising signs during the 2017-18 season, the 6-foot-3 guard transferred into the Public League from Peoria Manual and put up 14.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game during his sophomore campaign.
National recruiting analysts and college coaches were among those to notice Miller's natural ability and upside as he currently rates as the No. 37 prospect in Rivals' Class of 2020 national rankings. Illinois, Kansas, Stanford, UCLA and USC are among the programs heavily in the mix for Miller in the recruiting process.
With former teammate Ayo Dosunmu graduating and heading to Illinois this fall, Miller has a chance to be a Player of the Year candidate with a strong junior season.
"Now is my time to be a leader, and try to keep on, and start winning games for the team and bring home another championship," Miller said. "I'm ready for anything to be thrown my way. I've been practicing my whole life for this so I'm not going to stop now."
Playing in the star-studded Pangos All-American Camp in Southern California last weekend, Miller is still trying to get fully healthy before a busy summer. A sprained ankle prevented him from playing in front of the college coaches during the April Live Evaluation Period as he's trying to regain his previous form.
Even though he hasn't been at 100 percent, Miller is still capable of knocking down perimeter shots, and scoring in bunches, as some of that ability was on display at Pangos. Playing in May during two sessions of the Nike EYBL with the Mac Irvin Fire, Miller hit an impressive 27 three-pointers over an eight-game span as he was 39 percent from three-point range over that stretch.
"My game was more explosive before I got injured. So now, I'm trying to get more explosive. Just get all of my full bounce back. Once I get that, I'll get my defense back. I'll be able to move and do anything," Miller said.
"They used to say I was a streaky shooter but I think I've become a better shooter. Out here [at Pangos] I haven't shot the ball well but I just have to keep shooting. I think my jumper is getting pretty good now."
Miller is playing well on the national circuit while still recovering from the sprained ankle as he is playing with a lot of confidence following his first season in the Public League.
Acknowledging that the competition was even tougher than expected in the Public League, Miller knew the league was no joke during his first Red-South rivalry game with Bogan just three games into the season.
"I didn't think it was going to be as hard as it was. But probably the Bogan game in the first five games. That was one of the games that told me, 'yeah, this is no joke, I've gotta bring my game,'" Miller said.
"It's probably the hardest place to play in the country. You're playing against people who aren't known but they don't really care about that. They're going to come at your head every night. So I became a stronger player and it really helped me coming onto the circuit because people haven't played that hard of basketball. I'm coming off a hard season so it really helped me a lot."
Entering junior season as a marked man and potential star, Miller won't have seniors like Dosunmu, Cameron Burrell and Kenyon Duling to rely on when things get tough this season. It'll be on Miller to be a go-to guy for the Mustangs as they try to stay involved in the IHSA state title mix. Embracing the challenge, Miller is looking forward to playing more with Morgan Park and his future teammates this summer.
"It was good playing with Ayo. It was a learning experience. He taught me how to be a leader and just go get your buckets and play team ball. All of that really came together," Miller said.
"Now, I'm just trying to picture what we're going to be and get us all on the same page. Put everybody where they need to be now. So that when the season gets going, we'll know the expectations. Then during the season, we'll be rolling."