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Is Leonard Miller high school basketball's most talented secret?

On3 imageby:Jamie Shaw02/09/22


Take a quick glance in the stands during any of Leonard Miller’s games at the National Prep School Invitational, and you would see a handful of NBA Scouts along with G-League Ignite Director Rod Strickland. Their computers are on their laps watching the 6-foot-10 enigma from Fort Erie (CAN) International Academy.

Two years ago, the NBA was more of a dream than a reality for Miller. Then a sophomore, he was the 11th man on an Mt. Pleasant (UT) Wasatch Academy team that finished 27-2 and ultimately sent eight players D-I. He was away from home, fighting to become relevant on his own team. It may be pertinent to note he started his sophomore season as a 6-4 shooting guard.

Things have changed for Leonard Miller. Now he is 6-10 with a measured 7-3 wingspan, and he kept his guard skills. He initiates the offense for 90-percent of Fort Erie’s possessions. He is shooting over 40-percent from three on the season. Miller averages 32 points per game this season, leading the Grind Session, and Canada in scoring. Yet, a quick google search shows Miller is currently unranked by the On3 Consensus, a proprietary algorithm that compiles ratings and rankings from all four major recruiting media services.

“I’m very versatile and can impact the game in a variety of ways,” Miller told On3. “I can put the ball in the net and get my teammates involved. I’m vocal on defense, whatever it takes to win. I have developed a pro mindset in how I live and approach things. In my development, I have started to attack it like a pro, just in all ways.”

Miller is production and upside

Fort Erie’s coach Charles Hantoumakos has been no stranger to high-level talent. He coached Lu Dort at Ontario (CAN) Athlete’s Institute and with the Canadian U16 national team. If you get Hantoumakos talking about Miller’s ability and his upside, you may be there for a bit.

“He’s by far the most dynamic skill-set of anyone I’ve ever coached,” Hantoumakos told On3 after an NPSI day one win in which Miller went for 26 points and 13 rebounds. “He has the highest ceiling for sure. I honestly think he is not even scratching the surface right now in putting it all together. Thinking about him at 24, that is going to be a scary sight.”

Leonard Miller, who has a November 2003 birthday, is only 18 years old. To think of what he could be at 24, six years from now is what makes Miller so intriguing. A six-and-a-half-inch growth spurt over 18 months can cause people to look at you through an entirely different lens.

At 6-4, you see numerous guys every cycle with the ability to handle, shoot, and pass. At 6-10, that is so much more of an anomaly. Add in the bloodlines, Miller’s older brother Emmanuel is a 6-7 junior averaging 10.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game at TCU, and you see a lot of things lining up for success.

“Toward the end of 2019, he was a 6-foot-4 shooting guard,” Hantoumakos said. “Since then, he has grown six, six and a half inches. It is just a matter of growing into his body and getting that physical fluidity and literacy with his frame. This season, he walked into the gym an entirely new player; he has never played in a role like this where he is being asked to be ‘the man’ on his team. He has responded by being the leading scorer in Canada, the leading scorer on the Grind Session, and winning Most Outstanding Player at the Zero Gravity event. What he has done in five months has been remarkable.”

The options

As is with today’s landscape, the elite players have options. Of course, college programs will be beating down the door of a versatile 6-10 player, and they are. But so are G-League Ignite and other professional routes. Leonard Miller knows his ultimate goal is the NBA. He also knows he has to be very meticulous with his development to get there.

“The pro route is a big option for me; it is very visible right now,” Miller said. “I just have to keep working for that to happen. There are a lot of people telling me the NBA draft or the G-League could be possible. Eventually, I want to get drafted, so if that comes about this year, I will want to test that. If the G-League reaches out to me and wants me to come in and be with them, that will be something that we take very seriously. They have not reached out to me yet.”

Without having that conversation, Miller and Hantoumakos are focused on the college route.

“I hear from a lot of schools showing me love, Kansas, TCU, Providence, Washington State, Alabama,” Miller said. “I’ve visited TCU earlier this year and am looking to go see a lot more, so I can get a good feel for different programs and environments.”

Miller talks recruiting

TCU: “They are telling me I could develop there, be a better player and be a pro out of there. A lot of people are there to hold me accountable at TCU. They see me coming in to impact the game in various ways. They have a great environment.”

Kansas: “They are heavily interested in me, they stay in contact, and they just want me to go to their program and keep developing.”

Providence: “They can see me coming in and playing right away, impacting their program. They are playing very well this year, and they see me coming in and keeping them at the level they are. They expect me to go in and put in the work.”

Washington State: “They express their need for me, like the other teams. They see what I can bring to the table for them. If I came there, they think I could make their program better and do a lot of things to improve and become a pro.”

Oklahoma State: “I have seen Coach (Mike) Boynton plenty of times, he came down to watch me, and I have had great talks with him. We talked about he will hold me accountable, and he has the staff in place to hold me accountable to help me keep becoming a better player. He talks to me about being a good person as well. I have watched them a lot this year, they are in the same conference as my brother, so I have seen them play TCU already this year.”

Alabama: “I have talked with a couple of their coaches. They expressed that going there would be great for them and a great fit and that the offer is on the table. They talked to me a little about how they play and how they will develop me.”

Miller’s older brother Emmanuel is the third leading scorer for a 17-5 TCU team right now, a program that has received Leonard Miller’s only official visit at this time. There is a family draw for them to play together, but as it can be with brothers, there is a competitive fire involved.

“I would love to play with my brother,” Miller said. “But I could play against him too. He is my brother, and we both have different attributes and skills to our game. We could gel well on the court. But playing against him is something I wouldn’t mind either; I love to compete. So whatever happens happens.”

Develpment toward the dream

At the end of the day, Miller knows his dream, and he and Hantoukamos are in lock-step with the vision and the work it will take to make it to the NBA.

“The thing with Leonard is he is just starting,” Hantoumakos said. “This is his first year with this body. He just needs reps and to go through the natural maturation process of a basketball player. He’s like a blank canvas right now, but the best part is that he is a great kid. He’ll keep getting better and better and improve at a pretty rapid rate.”

Miller is in no rush to make any decisions but agrees with the work, “I’ll look for a place where I see myself developing as a player. I want to go to a place I am wanted and a place where I vibe with the vision of the program. I want to reach my dream of the NBA, so whatever option I see myself getting to that dream the best is the option I will take.”

While you may not find Leonard Miller currently ranked on any national recruiting sites – look for that to change soon – college basketball’s blue bloods know who he is. After a six-inch growth spurt, the NBA is doing its due diligence as well.