I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to say that Mike Miles is the best true freshman to suit up for TCU Basketball in the last several decades.
The point guard out of Lancaster, TX was an absolute star from almost day one in Fort Worth, earning a berth on the Big 12 All Freshman Team as well as Honorable Mention All Conference honors as he averaged over 13 points and three assists per game in the middle of a chaotic TCU Basketball season.
His play caught notice of the national team, earning him an invite to the U19 tryout squad — that just so happened to be coached by Jamie Dixon. 26 athletes were invited to Fort Worth to put their best foot forward to earn a chance to represent the Red, White, and Blue in Latvia next month, with 12 athletes surviving a grueling training camp to get the chance to rock USA on their jerseys for the World Cup.
Miles was selected to the final roster by USA and TCU head coach Jamie Dixon along with U19 World Cup Team assistant coaches Jerod Haase (Stanford) and James Jones (Yale). ”This week has been very fulfilling so far, and the process of selecting this 12-player group was really difficult given the amount of talent we have had at training camp,” said Dixon. “Everyone has been working hard, we are growing closer as a group, which is really important. I am excited about the team that the committee put together as we now prepare to head overseas to Latvia and compete for a gold medal.
The 2021 USA Men's U19 World Cup Team roster is set— USABJNT (@usabjnt) June 25, 2021
The 12-member squad will go for gold at the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup from July 3-11 in Latvia.
“Although the committee had to make some tough decisions in the selection process, we are thrilled with the potential this team brings to the court. Its length, basketball IQ, defensive prowess and offensive abilities should make us a strong team, and I am looking forward to the challenge of competing in the U19 World Cup in July. For some of our guys, it will be the first time leaving the country and everyone is excited about having the honor of representing their country.”
Featuring U19 teams from 16 nations, the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup includes in addition to USA and host Latvia, Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, France, Japan, Lithuania, Mali, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Serbia, South Korea, Spain and Turkey. USA was drawn into Group D, alongside Australia, Mali and Turkey for the July 3-6 FIBA U19 World Cup preliminary round. USA will open play against Turkey on July 3 (10:30 a.m. EDT), followed by Mali on July 4 (1:30 p.m. EDT) and close preliminary play against Australia on July 6 (1:30 p.m. EDT). Reigning FIBA U19 World Cup gold medalist, USA men’s teams have won seven gold medals, three silver medals and one bronze medal while compiling a 99-14 overall record in U19 World Cup play since the event launched in 1979. USA has won four of the last six U19 golds since 2009. Dixon also served as head coach for the 2009 team.
As Miles told Drew Davison of the Star-Telegram, “It’s been an honor even just to be here, working out and practicing for Team USA. It’s a blessing. I’ve dreamed of this since I was in high school, never got invited (in high school) but being invited now is a dream come true for sure. I’m definitely trying to make the team.”
It can’t be overstated how big this is for the Horned Frogs: having an elite player competing on the national stage — and getting the exposure that comes with it — is just what the doctor ordered for a program that is trying to rebuild on the fly after seeing two thirds of its roster leave the program over the course of the last several months. Having Jamie Dixon at the helm is a boon as well, as top players across the country will get a first hand look at how he handles the best and the brightest young stars in the game and the room he gives them to work in his wide-open offensive style. Should Team USA succeed in the World Cup, bringing two gold medals back to Fort Worth will be a nice capper and a beautiful addition to the Hall of Fame that sits in the lobby of Schollmaier Arena.
It’s also putting young Mike in a position to grow as a leader — something a very young TCU team will need out of their star come the start of next season. “I’d say one thing I’ve learned is I’m a better leader now. Last year I wasn’t really vocal as much as I should’ve been. That’s the only thing I’d say. I’ve known I can be a leader since the first day of practice.” Leading amongst a group of established stars will help Miles both on and off the court when he returns to the purple in the fall.
Oh... and it makes his family so happy, which is awesome, too:
Joining Miles on the USA U19 World Cup Team are: Patrick Baldwin Jr. (Hamilton H.S./Sussex, Wis.); Kennedy Chandler (Sunrise Christian Academy, Kan./Memphis, Tenn.); Jonathan Davis (Wisconsin/La Crosse, Wis.); Caleb Furst (Blackhawk Christian School/Fort Wayne, Ind.); Chet Holmgren (Minnehaha Academy/Minneapolis, Minn.); Harrison Ingram (St. Mark’s School/Dallas, Texas); Jaden Ivey (Purdue/South Bend, Ind.); Ryan Kalkbrenner (Creighton/St. Louis, Mo.); Kenneth Lofton Jr. (Louisiana Tech/Port Arthur, Texas); Adam Miller (Louisiana State/Chicago, Ill.); and Peyton Watson (Long Beach Poly Tech H.S./Long Beach, Calif).