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Mercy Miller suits up for the first time ever for Oak Hill Academy at Hoophall Classic

By Carley Crain

Mercy Miller just transferred to Oak Hill Academy this week — an unusual move this time of year, especially since the winter season is in full swing. That didn’t stop Miller from suiting up for the 2022 Spalding Hoophall Classic for his first game ever wearing an Oak Hill uniform, despite being on the team for only a few days and never playing a game with his new teammates before.

Now, he’s approximately 1,200 miles away from his home in Minnesota. Despite the quick turnaround, Miller suited up and got to play in the 2022 Spalding Hoophall Classic presented by Eastbay this weekend. The transition has been challenging, but Miller knew it was the right decision for him and his basketball career. 

“I chose Oak Hill because I think it is a new step, a new chapter in my journey,” said Miller. “I want to be a great player, and at Oak Hill I will be playing under the national spotlight with top players in the country. I just want to keep getting better.”

Being far from home, however, hasn’t been easy. A FaceTime call or a text message just isn’t the same. Miller’s oldest brother, Romeo, who used to play basketball at the University of Southern California, was in the stands on Sunday afternoon for his second game ever with Oak Hill Academy. Basketball is what ties the Miller family together. 

“Basketball means a lot to me,” said Miller with a beaming smile. “I grew up with all of my family playing. All of my cousins and brothers; we would always play in the backyard or wherever.”

Miller’s other brother, Hercy, is also a star on the court, and currently plays at the D1 level for Tennessee. Without their relationship, Miller wouldn’t be the player he is today. Having Hercy in his corner has helped Miller grow his love for the sport. The best part of it all, though, was doing it with his best friend. 

“My brother Hercy and I, we are as close as we can be,” explained Miller. “He always pushed me when growing up and having an older brother who has the same dreams and goals as me definitely made me better. “

Miller decided to commit to the University of Houston this year as only a sophomore. On the outside, many questioned why he felt the need to make such a big decision at only 16 years old. But he knew Houston was where he is meant to be — so why wait?

“My dad would always bring me back for games and I always just knew that Houston was home, so that is why I made the decision so early,” explained Miller. 

The 2022 Spalding Hoophall Classic presented by Eastbay was just the beginning of Miller’s journey with Oak Hill academy. He didn’t see much time on the court this weekend since he doesn’t know the offense well yet, but Head Coach Steve Smith is very confident about the immediate impact Miller will make.

Mercy Miller on the bench with his new teammates at the 2022 Spalding Hoophall Classic presented by Eastbay. (Joe Arruda/The Student)

“He is going to play a lot for us even this year as a sophomore, ” said Smith. “About another week from now he will probably be in our rotation getting a lot of minutes.”

Smith didn’t have to do much convincing towards Miller to get him to play for Oak Hill. Miller was confident that in order to achieve his dream of playing in the NBA, he would have to go through Oak Hill first. 

“He was all for it right away. I didn’t even talk to him for more than 20 seconds before he said coach I want to come,” said Smith.

At only 16 years old, Miller has proven to be one of the best guards in the country, and still with two years left of high school, he has plenty of time to develop as a player both on and off the court.

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