During the most turbulent seven months of his high-school life, Nate Miles was always able to fall back on basketball.
Since April, Miles has ping-ponged from Libbey High School to the prestigious Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., back to Toledo, and Libbey, and now, believe it or not, across town to Waite.
His reputation for being one of the most talented hoopsters in Ohio enabled him to open doors that might ordinarily have been closed to him.
Miles averaged 19.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists for Libbey last season. He was an All-Blade selection and a first-team All-City pick.
Throughout his academic struggles and comings and goings to different schools, basketball remained the one constant for the 6-6 Miles.
Basketball has been his salvation.
But a recent revelation has turned Miles world upside down.
Upon his transfer from Libbey to Waite about a week ago, Miles discovered he may not be allowed to play basketball for the entire school year.
I think I can make it at Waite, but if I can t play basketball I don t know what I ll do, Miles said yesterday.
Because Miles transferred from Libbey to Waite, which is located in his home school district, during the school year for reasons that aren t related to academics, he ll be ineligible to play basketball for the entire school year, according to Toledo Public School guidelines.
Miles played basketball as a freshman and sophomore at Libbey, which is not located in his home school district.
I feel for Nate as a person, because he was misled, said Libbey coach Leroy Bates, who welcomed Miles back to the Cowboys before he transferred to Waite.
Miles said his family plans to challenge the ruling so he can play basketball this season if his academics are in order. Miles is currently not eligible based on this year s first academic quarter at Libbey.
Miles, who left Libbey last spring to enroll at Oak Hill, said he accepts full responsibility for not performing academically at Libbey or during five weeks of summer school remedial work at Oak Hill.
I should be at Oak Hill right now, he said. Oak Hill was real cool.
[But] it was something I wasn t used to. I was there by myself all the time. I was acting real childish. I was doing little stuff like I do here.
Oak Hill coach Steve Smith, who has mentored scores of high school All-Americans and sent several of them to the NBA from the national prep basketball power, said Miles had no problem fitting in talent-wise.
He has a lot of potential. He has size, he shoots the ball well. He has Division I talent, Smith said. He didn t do as well as we hoped academically. He s got to get that end taken care of, or basketball won t matter.
Chilling words for Miles, who admits he would do things differently if given a second chance.
When I sit in my room and think about things, I just cry. I m really messing up my life, Miles said. I point the finger at myself, but it s not too late.
Let s hope that s the case. There is life after basketball. Maybe it will take the loss of basketball, even if only for a while, for him to understand what s truly important.