Thursday, June 12, 2008

I Can See For Miles and Miles ...

STORRS --- After five high schools and some five extra months of waiting, much-ballyhooed UConn recruit Nate Miles has finally been cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center.

“I am so happy, you don’t understand,” Miles said on Thursday evening. “This might be the happiest day of my life.”

All that’s left for the 6-foot-7 wing to be popping in 3-pointers for the Huskies next fall is to get through UConn admissions.

“I see that as a formality,” said Miles’ guardian, Sean Patterson. “He went on an official visit, met with their admissions people. They saw what kind of kid he is.”

Miles also met with UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway during his visit late last week.

“It was great. I had a great time,” Miles said of the visit. “I was just so happy to be down there in that environment. I really enjoyed myself and felt at home.”

Miles will enroll in summer school at UConn, arriving on campus on Saturday, June 21 and starting classes on June 23.

Miles, 20, graduated from The Patterson School in Lenoir, N.C. – his fifth different school in 4 ½ years – this past January. Once he had his diploma, the process of getting him through the NCAA Eligibility Center began, and both Miles, Patterson and UConn coach Jim Calhoun held out the slim hope that he could be suited up for the Huskies by the beginning of UConn’s second semester at the end of January.

That soon proved impossible, however, as NCAA officials needed a long time to sift through Miles’ unique transcript.

“When you go to different high schools, there’s different curriculum, different sets of accommodations for students, different grading standards, all sorts of things,” Patterson explained. “In his situation he had multiple schools, all for good reasons. They had to go back and find all sorts of paperwork, homework assignments, attendance records.”

Miles finally got the good news on Thursday evening by phone from a member of the UConn program.

Miles has been back in his native Toledo for the past few months. He also spent some time at the IMG Academy in the winter, trying to stay in basketball shape should he have been accepted at UConn for the spring semester.

While Miles – who, according to a source, scored about a 950 on his SAT – has clearly had academic issues, his ability on the basketball floor has never been questioned.

“Basketball is the least of my worries with Nate. He was born to play basketball,” said Patterson, who compares Miles’ smooth style and scoring ability to George Gervin’s, and his ballhandling abilities to Chris Douglas-Roberts of Memphis.

Miles said his strongest suit is his “will to win. I want to win, that’s what it’s all about. I’m going to try to do everything I can to help UConn win.”

Of course, the Huskies’ scholarship allotment of 13 is currently filled. Several things could happen to open one up – JUCO transfer Charles Okwandu has to get through summer school, for instance – but the most likely scenario appears to be sophomore forward Stanley Robinson leaving the program. Calhoun said last week that he is currently monitoring Robinson in the same way both Doug Wiggins and Curtis Kelly had been monitored. Both wound up transferring from the program for issues in the classroom and off the court.

“We’re pretty excited. We’re happy for Connecticut, for him,” said Patterson. “It’s been long process, but now that it’s over, we’re glad it’s done. All his past history of a tough life, he can use that as a positive.

“Now, it’s on him.”

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