Miles finding offensive rhythm
Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 29, 2012 05:11
After starting 30 games as a freshman last season, Keaton Miles was never known as a scorer.
The sophomore forward from Dallas was relied upon for his defensive and rebounding abilities.
In his last two outings, though, Miles has posted career highs in points.
But the sudden outburst of points to his name hasn’t changed Miles’ modest mind-set.
"I don’t want to talk about myself too much," Miles said after the Mountaineers’ 94-69 win over Virginia Military Institute in their home opener Wednesday night. "I just wanted to get out there and help my team as much as possible. I just feel more comfortable in the offense."
Miles had 11 points and only missed one shot against the Keydets Wednesday night in front of 7,531 at the Coliseum.
This came one game after scoring a career-high eight points against Oklahoma.
The offensive outburst may have been sparked during the Old Spice Classic against the Sooners.
"A guy challenged me in the OU game. He said I can’t shoot," Miles said. "He just brought something out of me. From that point on, I’ve been feeling good."
The offensive performance hasn’t distracted Miles from producing on the defensive end of the floor.
He also had seven combined steals in the games against Oklahoma and VMI.
His head coach has seen improvement across the board from Miles, who is coming off the bench this season.
"When you defend and rebound, the rest of it will come. Those are two things you can control, and he’s taken that to heart," said head coach Bob Huggins. "He’s rebounding the ball better. He’s passing the ball better. When you tell him to reverse the ball, he reverses the ball."
The biggest change for Miles this season as compared to last may be simple repetition.
"The difference is just more experience under my belt and getting more of a feel," Miles said. "I know everything coach Huggins wants us to do. I’m still learning, but I feel more comfortable."
Miles provided a spark for the Mountaineers, who, with the win, avoided their first 1-4 start since 1917.
Despite the arguable lack of talent from the opposition Wednesday, this was a win West Virginia desperately needed.
"We’ve been struggling with chemistry," Miles said. "No disrespect to VMI, but we’re going to have tougher opponents than them, and we need to play as a team."
As for Miles, he’s not jogging out on the blue carpet with the starters this season.
But that’s not the only thing that has changed. He’s beginning to present himself as a scoring threat to a team that has struggled mightily to score.
And he couldn’t care less if he’s in the starting lineup or not.
"It doesn’t really matter. If he (Huggins) wants me to come off the bench, (I can)," Miles said. "I played a lot of minutes tonight, and I came off the bench. It doesn’t matter."