Kids will bring anything into school for show and tell. Sometimes, it’s not even an item they’re proud of, but rather, the first thing they saw when they remembered it was show and tell day. Of course, some kids do bring an item that remains a source of pride – and at least one kid brings in the picture of what he hopes will be his future.
Keith Miller is a rising star on the Lutheran School of Flushing & Bayside (LSFB) basketball team, the Tigers. On his show and tell day, he brought in a picture of his father dunking at Madison Square Garden. The senior Keith tried out for the New York Knicks – a fact that leaves the junior Keith with a passion for the hardwood game.
“I love basketball, it makes me feel free,” said Miller, a towering 12-year-old eighth grader who stands at almost 5 feet 11 inches. “When I’m on the court, nothing else matters. I have tunnel vision.”
By far the tallest player on the team, Miller’s main objective is to grab as many rebounds as possible and raise his team’s odds of second-chance points. It’s an important role on any basketball team, and one that Miller’s coach, Nicholas Singh, knows will improve the Tigers’ shot at victory.
“When he transferred schools, we missed him bad,” Singh said, referring to the year his Tigers played without Miller. “He has a real passion for the game – it runs in his family.”
But even with a passion for basketball running through his veins, Miller still knows that his game could use a few improvements. For starters, he wants to inject more aggression into his game and play a lot more “in your face” basketball, which will keep the opposition from getting to the hoop.
“When you’re aggressive, it stops the other team from getting easy shots,” he said. “Obviously, that’s the key to winning.”
Singh believes that aggression combined with towering stature will elevate Miller’s game to a level of pure dominance. He’s going to play some games at center this year, the coach said, adding that his size gives him more responsibility than other players.
“He hit a major growth spurt. He’s much taller than most other kids his age, so we are going to rely heavily on him for scoring and rebounds,” the coach said. “If we make the playoffs, that means he’s had a good year.”
Miller is looking to have a good year off the court as well. While playing sports gets his mind off school work, when he’s in the classroom Miller is all business. His average is in the 80s and his favorite subjects include science and social studies.
“I really like social studies because knowing about the past and your ancestors helps us grow in knowledge,” he said. “It’s important to know what they went through – it helps you appreciate what you have.”
And what Miller has, besides classroom smarts, is a strong lineage. Not only is his dad an avid player, his sister Felicia won a championship with LSFB – so obviously this is a family that has been up and down the court.
But you don’t have a family of winners without someone putting the emphasis on schoolwork. Miller’s mom Victoria instilled in him the importance of finishing all of his schoolwork before he steps onto the court.
Once that work is completed, Miller is free to play ball, a fact that Singh knows might get his team back where it belongs.
“Our goal as always is to make the playoffs,” Singh said. “Some of the schools from the Bronx and other places might not take us seriously because we play in the suburbs. But that’s fine. We’ve never been classified as a basketball school, but with players like Keith, things have changed.”