If that’s all that Miller got to do, it still would have been a heart-warming story. Instead, that was just the beginning, with Price telling Miller just moments before the Senior Night game that the manager would be in the starting lineup. A stunned Miller trotted out on to the court, then found himself alone, streaking toward the basket following the tip off. He got a clean pass from senior teammate Devin Brown, and put in a picture perfect lay up for the game’s first two points.
As reported by AL.com, that opening bucket was always on the cards, thanks again to Price. The Faith Academy coach reached out to his counterpart at Jackson, Jimbo Tolfert, withTolfert agreeing instantly to have Miller score the game’s first points.
All a fitting capstone for a team manager who is much more than just the guy who rolls out the balls and fills the water bottles.
“I remember we were playing Davidson one time and not playing real well,” Price told AL.com. “I thought my halftime speech was over, but Austin spoke up and asked if he could address the team. He basically said we are better than this, this is unaccepted. He told the guys they needed to play with more passion and enthusiasm and remember who we represented. He had their undivided attention.
“They went out and they responded to his 30-second speech probably more than anything I have ever said. Austin always goes above and beyond what he needs to do. He wants to make a difference on our team. That is what makes him special.”
Brown and his teammates were just glad that Miller got a fitting moment in the sunshine, under the bright lights of Faith Academy’s gymnasium, let alone Miller himself.
“When I made that layup, it was phenomenal,” Miller said. “I can’t really compare it to anything else that has ever happened to me. It is the best feeling that I have had in my 18 years on earth.”
By Cam Smith, USA TODAY High School Sports