PHOENIX — Olivia Miles is rare.
But it’s not because the Blair Academy inferior is a 5-foot-10 point bouncer with Sue Bird-like vision, Steve Nash-like accuracy and a Diana Taurasi-like adeptness to annoyer adolescent guards with her size. It’s additionally not because she’s still ambivalent on a college.
It’s because she plays two sports — and plays them well.
Despite actuality the second-ranked amateur in the Class of 2021, Miles spends her avalanche on the soccer pitch, agilely putting basketball abroad for a few months, with the barring of a brace of hours every Thursday, aback she goes to accessible gym with academy coaches usually watching.
The simple act of arena assorted sports is as attenuate as Miles is on the court. These days, top-tier aerial academy athletes with big-time scholarship offers usually don’t appetite to accident their bookish careers by arena a additional sport.
Miles, on the added hand, loves it.
“It’s so accessible arena soccer, not alike because it’s fun,” said Miles, who denticulate 17 goals this season. “I adulation it, but it’s so accessible in so abounding altered ways. Not alike soccer. You could do lacrosse, acreage hockey, annihilation you want. It aloof helps you a lot in the admirable arrangement of basketball and your health, brainy health, concrete health, everything.”
Soccer not alone offers Miles a adventitious to catechize from the rigors of summer basketball and adapt for the continued booty of the approved season. It additionally puts her in a altered ambiance with altered teammates, which leads to altered friends.
Soccer convenance begins in aboriginal September, and the division ends in aboriginal November. Soccer and basketball seasons don’t overlap, which is a acceptable thing, Miles says, so she doesn’t accept to accept one or the added — or comedy both simultaneously.
But it usually takes her about a anniversary to get her attempt back. Aback she does hit the court, key anatomy and areas of her body, such as her accoutrements and absolute aerial body, are able-bodied rested. She starts basketball division in bigger appearance than she would if she didn’t comedy soccer, alike admitting soccer and basketball crave altered types of conditioning.
“I anticipate for addition like Olivia, if she played basketball year-round, it would aloof abrasion her out,” Blair drillmaster Quint Clark said. “I anticipate accepting that breach and actuality aflame to get [to] the gym and aflame to comedy afresh and all that is absolutely helpful.”
This year, in particular, the breach from basketball came at the absolute time.
Sept. 1 was the alpha of the accessible recruiting period, and coaches abounding Miles’ phones. She has one buzz accurately for recruiting, but coaches begin her added number, so the absorption came from all sides. She was sitting on a bank in Wildwood, New Jersey, with her parents aback the calls and texts came rolling in.
When she alternate to school, though, it was time for soccer division to start, and that took her apperception off basketball and her recruitment.
The recruiting action afflicted Miles at first. The acquaintance was constant, and she was aggravating to antithesis soccer and basketball with aggravating to allay the coaches who were extensive out. For the best part, coaches were understanding. However, there were some who weren’t.
“Some actuality or there are like, ‘Oh, you’re not answering me,’ like all this stuff,” Miles said. “But it’s fine.
“A brace of them were like, ‘I’ve accomplished out for the third time. If you’re not activity to respond, we’re activity to stop texting,’ or article like that. You know, it’s fine.”
For now, Miles has narrowed her account to six schools: North Carolina, Stanford, Notre Dame, Oregon, Princeton and Connecticut.
Miles’ application acceptable would be over if drillmaster Courtney Banghart hadn’t gone from Princeton to North Carolina.
“I would accept gone there if she didn’t leave,” Miles said. “I wouldn’t accept committed there, but it would’ve had a actual aerial adventitious because all my ancestors wants to see me play.”
Miles’ antecedent plan was to accomplish by the Boo Williams Nike Invitational, but that’s in backward April, about three weeks afterwards she can alpha demography official visits. Her new plan is to accomplish by August or September. Alone four of the ESPN HoopGurlz Super 60 accept committed.
Whichever academy acreage Miles will accretion a different alloy of talent, accomplishment and size.
“If you aback up, she shoots. She absolutely puts a lot of burden on the defense,” Clark said. “And she’s a abundant athlete, but she doesn’t exhausted bodies with her athleticism as abundant as with her brain. But she’ll get the brawl appropriate here, and you don’t apperceive if she’s gonna grab it or not, and about you move, she again reacts to it.”
Who Miles is as a basketball amateur is a aftereffect of who she is a soccer amateur — alike if her roles are arctic opposites. Footwork translates amid sports, as does the abstraction of affective as a unit. There are 4-on-2s and 3-on-1s.
As a forward, Miles’ role is to advance and score. As a point guard, her job is to set up her teammates.
“Very opposite,” she said. “I anticipate about that all the time, how in soccer, I’m like, ‘Should I be casual more?’ But I’m aloof like, ‘No, I’m aloof gonna shoot it.’
“I aloof don’t canyon it in soccer, and it’s so strange. In basketball, I adulation ambience up my teammates. It’s actual rewarding.”
Miles is affidavit that a adolescent amateur can comedy at atomic two sports and be successful. Affidavit that one action helps another. Affidavit that it’s accessible to abstain addict at a adolescent age.
“Oh, my gosh, that’s what I’m afraid of aback I stop arena soccer,” she said, “that I’m aloof gonna be captivated with basketball.”
Miles ability be on the fast clue to the WNBA, and she has a beam of “being one of the abundant women’s basketball players in the world,” Clark said, but one of her abiding legacies ability be assuming added athletes that it’s OK to comedy two sports.
“Like, if you’re thinking, ‘I don’t appetite to go to the gym today,’ you charge to booty breaks,” Clark said. “Professionals do it. LeBron’s not cutting all the time. They charge that break, and maybe you charge to go do article abroad and, especially, if it’s a action area it’s fun and you can do it in a way that’s uplifting.”
Miles started arena soccer as anon as she could walk. Her ancestor grew up arena soccer and alien her to sports. He initially capital her to be a agent because that was his added sport. She had no admiration to run but admired soccer.
“We would go out in the backyard for endless hours and aloof bang about or go to a acreage and shoot in the net, whatever it be,” she said. “We were consistently together, consistently blame about a soccer ball. Whenever you saw us together, there was consistently a ball, like, abutting to us.”
If time weren’t a factor, Miles would accept admired to comedy soccer on added aggressive levels, alleviative it analogously to how she did basketball, which she started arena in fourth grade. If she had done that, who knows how acceptable she would’ve been.
“I allocution about this with my parents all the time,” Miles said. “I apparently would be absolutely good.”
Clark gave Miles the abstraction of arena two sports in academy and thinks there’s no agnosticism that she could be at atomic a Division I soccer amateur if she were to focus added on the sport. Miles’ dad has brought up the abstraction of practicing with the soccer aggregation at whichever academy she chooses, in allotment because he doesn’t appetite her to allotment means with the action and in allotment because of the concrete benefits.
“It gets me, like, affecting cerebration that I accept to stop arena abutting year,” she said. “But it’s been a fun ride.”
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