This is how it starts.
A talented high school athlete needs help. Trouble with grades, or maybe family problems.
A concerned adult intervenes on behalf of the talented youngster. Lesser talents need not apply.
Phone calls are made, discussions held, promises kept.
A year or two later, the talented athlete turns his life around and proudly earns a college scholarship.
Let's hope that Libbey High School basketball star Nate Miles is making the right decision to attend Oak Hill Academy, a prestigious prep school in Virginia specializing in attracting talented basketball players from across the country.
Let's hope that Miles gets his academic situation in order, pulls up his grades and eventually signs a national letter of intent to attend Xavier University in Cincinnati.
Let's hope that this is about doing what's best for Miles, and not what's best for Xavier or Sean Patterson, the adult mentor/friend/AAU coach who directed Miles to Oak Hill.
Let's hope that Miles becomes a success story and not a statistic.
Maybe it's just the cynic in me, but I reserve the right not to turn cartwheels until I see how Miles' situation turns out.
Everyone seems to want what's best for Miles. They not only want him to attend college, they want him to choose the right one.
What's best for Miles right now might not be what's best for him in the future.
Why was it necessary for Miles to commit to Xavier two years early? Is it because Patterson is a former St. John's Jesuit assistant coach and St. John's standout B.J. Raymond will attend Xavier next year?
Miles' decision to select Xavier following his sophomore season leaves me feeling somewhat uneasy.
It's like getting married at 18 when there are no children involved.
Why the rush?
If everything goes according to plan, Miles could become too big for Xavier. He could sign with one of the elite Division I programs that regularly pluck talented players from Oak Hill.
Don't misunderstand me. I think it's fantastic that Miles will attend Oak Hill, a school located in a town so small (Mouth of Wilson, population 1,471), there's nothing for him to do there but play basketball and study, study and play basketball.
According to some of the people who know him best, Miles needs structure and consistency in his academic and personal life. Oak Hill might be the best place for him.
However, I doubt Miles will find a better coach than Libbey's Leroy Bates, who genuinely cares about his athletes on the court and especially off the court.
No offense to Oak Hill coach Steve Smith, but he's in the business of coaching talented high school basketball players either headed to major Division I powers or straight to the NBA. Oak Hill will be successful whether or not Miles enrolls there.
How will it end for Miles?
"If it works out for Nate, I'm happy,'' City League commissioner Ed Scrutchins said yesterday. "But it's going to take some work.''
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