Miller Using Toughness, Basketball Bloodlines For Thunder

The Desert Vista boy’s basketball team are a force to be reckoned with. The 13-4 Thunder have playmakers all over the court, and the one orchestrating the offense, the one who takes plays from head coach Gino Crump and communicate it to the other four, is junior point guard Duane Miller.

“He can really handle the ball,” Crump said. “He is quick, he’s a great defender, he’s got good foot-speed and good knowledge of the game, great IQ, so he’s got all the intangibles of a point guard.”

From a very young age, Miller fell in love with the game.

“I knew that’s what I wanted to do. It’s my love, pretty much. I love the game.”

Someone who helped that love of the game flourish was Miller’s father, Andre Miller, who played in the NBA for 17 seasons for ten different teams.

Duane said his father never forced him into basketball, and growing up, he wanted to hide the fact his father was an NBA player.

“I tried not to tell anybody,” Miller said. “I didn’t like hearing it because it was like ‘Oh, your dad this and that,’ so I just kept it to myself for the most part.”

Now, Duane is the primary ball-handler and distributing to Wesley Harris, Caleb Simmons, Noah Baumann, who all average double figures. He also is a defensive stopper, bringing a toughness to the team and constantly racking up steals which help the Thunder in their transition game.

“There’s always room for improvement but right now I think we are on the right path,” Duane said. “Just working hard to get better and pushing each other in practice.”

Andre is in the bleachers constantly, watching his son and the rest of the Thunder. He is manning a camera and tripod, collecting game footage. He is shooting video of Duane’s game more for the memories than for film sessions to break down footage. He hopes Duane will look back at his high school days fondly.

“(It is) something, ya know, I wish I had growing up,” Andre said. “I only had it for maybe one year of high school. It’s just an opportunity for when he gets older, he can look back and say his dad filmed him playing basketball.”

While his dad looks on, focusing on being a supportive parent and fan, Duane is focused on getting the Thunder on the right track to make a run at a state title.

“Just make sure I’m doing what I have to do, talk to my teammates, keep the team together like positive energy and do what we know we need to do.”

Mixing his passions for sports and storytelling, Jordan comes to Sports360az as a multimedia reporter/producer looking to share the best stories Arizona has to offer. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @JordyHamm