Preps Talk

Morgan Park's Adam Miller ready for big expectations

adammiller.png
NBC SPORTS

Morgan Park's Adam Miller ready for big expectations

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."

Breaking: RB Williams pledges to Iowa

richards_-_58.png
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Breaking: RB Williams pledges to Iowa

It didn't take very long for Oak Lawn Richards three star ranked junior RB LeShon Williams (5-foot-10, 205 pounds) to give the Iowa Hawkeyes his verbal commitment. Williams, who added a scholarship offer from Iowa yesterday decided this afternoon to commit to the Hawkeyes and announced his college decision via his Twitter account. 

"For me it was really all about the tradition and the culture (at Iowa)," according to Williams. "It's always been a dram of mine to play in the Big 10 conference, so why not play for Iowa and get to play again with one of my old teammates."

Williams, who is holding 16 scholarship offers this spring will join former Richards quarterback/safety Sebastian Castro who is part of the Class of 2019 for the Hawkeyes. Williams is now the 10th known verbal commitment in the Iowa Class of 2020 and is also the third known State of Illinois pledge for Iowa. Williams joins Byron three star ranked OL Tyler Elsbury along with Lena-Winslow three star ranked defensive end Isaiah Bruce as Land of Lincoln commitments. 

Quarterback JJ McCarthy commits to Michigan

mccarthy-naz-1003.jpg
NBC Sports Chicago

Quarterback JJ McCarthy commits to Michigan

Nazareth Academy sophomore quarterback JJ McCarthy (6-foot-2, 180 pounds), who had an All State season in 2018 leading the Roadrunners to the Class 7A state title decided to give the Michigan Wolverines his verbal commitment today while making a return unofficial visit to the Ann Arbor, Michigan, campus.

“I have a list of all the things I need to check off before I make my decision,” McCarthy told Rivals.com's Midwest Recruiting Expert Josh Helmholdt. “It’s a literal piece of paper I have at home, and Michigan checked every single one of those boxes.”

Among the various factors for McCarthy in deciding upon Michigan included location, academics along with preparing him for the next level of football.

“With all the NFL ties Michigan has, especially quarterback-wise with coach (Jim) Harbaugh and coach (Ben) McDaniels, it’s really a no-brainer for me,” McCarthy said. “When I hear ‘Michigan,’ I think of Tom Brady. He’s the greatest of all time and he’s an alum… at my position too.”

McCarthy, who was already holding over 30 verbal scholarship offers including offers from multiple Power 5 programs is the second known verbal commitment in the Michigan Wolverines Class of 2021 joining Stevenson Sterling Heights (Mich.) ranked offensive tackle Giovanni El Hadi.

McCarthy is now the fourth known verbal commitment from the state of Illinois Class of 2021, joining Antioch sophomore QB Athan Kaliakmanis (Minnesota) and his brother Dino Kaliakmanis (Minnesota) and Naperville Central sophomore QB/ATH Sam Jackson (Minnesota).