Miller does a lot for the Big Reds

A captain in two sports, soccer and basketball, and a pretty good player in both too.

That’s Parkersburg High School senior Parker Miller, who is planning on majoring in college in such things as exercise physiology or medical microbiology among others. “But I don’t know for sure yet,” he said. So he’s smart too, with his GPA so far this year being 4.0.

Miller said he “loved soccer from playing it as a little kid on travel teams that were pretty good, so that’s when I started getting good at it.”

Growing up, Miller also played football “all the way up until high school.”

In middle school, “I actually didn’t play soccer, but football, and then I chose soccer for high school,” he said.

Miller actually still played soccer all the way up as well, but explained that “in middle school, I couldn’t play travel soccer if I played football, so I chose football. Then after that, I took soccer back up full time. So I took a two-year break from soccer.”

At that time, Miller didn’t think but “kind of, maybe” that a two-year absence from soccer would hinder him at PHS. “But once I got into soccer again, it wasn’t like too hard” getting acclimated to the sport he loved.

Miller played soccer all four years at PHS for veteran head coach Don Fosselman, who obviously saw his talent since Miller ended up starting already as (defensive) stopper in the second half of his freshman season. “They would kind of just put me on the (other team’s) best player to guard him basically — that’s all I did,” said Miller.

In fact though, Miller even played before that in the first half of his freshman season, “when I’d come in as a sub at outside mid(fielder),” he related.

As a sophomore, Miller played striker the entire year, and his junior year, he started at stopper for the first five games before being moved back to striker. Then this past fall as a senior, “I moved around a lot,” he said, as Miller was all over wherever needed — mostly at defensive mid, but also at center back.

At PHS, Miller scored 21 goals as a sophomore, 25 as a junior and 17 as a senior, “but I played more defense this year,” he said.

“I like scoring goals, but honestly I feel like I was best on the pitch playing defense. I think I contribute best there.”

Class AAA all-state soccer recognition came for Miller three times, both second team as a sophomore and junior, and finally as a senior was accorded first-team status along with being awarded Midfielder of the Year.

PHS however did get stopped from getting to the state tournament in Miller’s senior year, bowing out in the regional finals to eventual state champion Hurricane.

In college, Miller thinks he “would have a better chance to play soccer” than basketball. And he has been contacted to do so by some smaller schools, but he’s more apt to go to WVU to study biology or exercise physiology.

After soccer in the fall at PHS, for Miller it was right on to basketball, which he’s been “playing from second grade on”

He was on Jeff Mennillo’s PHS varsity squad since he was as a sophomore, “when I came in and played some, but didn’t start,” said Miller. But he started as a junior and now as a senior.

And so far this cage campaign, both Miller at 6-3 and Brenton Strange at 6-5 are leading the way for the Big Reds, not only in scoring along with Strange, but as team captains with him and Seth Dailey too.

No. 12 Class AAA-ranked PHS is 8-6 as of Friday’s upset win over No. 2 Beckley Woodrow Wilson. “We’re starting to play a lot better now,” said Miller. “Beginning the season, we had a lot of new guys. Really, Brent(on) and I were the only two guys with a lot of varsity minutes. But now we have Seth and (Kion)’Te (Peacock) too, and the new guys are coming into their roles nicely.”

At PHS, “my sophomore year, they started playing me at point guard,” Miller said, “and I was the backup. That was my first year ever really playing a natural point guard position. Coach didn’t really know where to put me because I could play the 1, 2, 3 or 4 positions at the high school level. So my junior year, I started at point guard since I think that’s what coach wanted me to do was be a facilitator,” whose main priorities are distributing the ball and trying to get it to the open man.

“Point guard was a position I really didn’t expect to play,” said Miller. “That was something new, but I like it and enjoyed it. Although this year, we have more guards, so I don’t have to solely play point guard. Last year, I was the main point guard, but this year, we have three or four guys that can play point guard, so we all just rotate in there.”

Plus, that gives Miller more time to play inside with Strange, giving the Big Reds a reliable rebounding duo down low underneath the basket

And this season so far, Miller is averaging 18.1 points per game as well as 7.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.7 steals.

Contact Steve Hemmelgarn at shemmelgarn@newsandsentinel.com.

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