Jan. 11, 2008
Cool 'Cat: Miller Balances Academics & Athletics
Chad Zutter, Athletic Media Relations
MARYVILLE -- When asked what has impressed head coach Gene Steinmeyer the most about April Miller over her five years at Northwest, he responded by saying, "she's the most consistent emotional player I think I've ever coached."
Whether being a role player, as Miller did in her early days at Northwest, or making the starting lineup and being named captain by her teammates, Miller has been as cool as a cucumber through the entire transition. Many players go through emotional peaks and valleys, especially early on in their careers, and struggle to be consistent on and off the court.
"Emotionally, you really can't tell any difference right now, as a starter, than as a freshman when she didn't know if she'd even see the court," said Steinmeyer.
Hailing from Grant City, Miller was very familiar with Northwest and came to quite a few Bearcat games when she was young. When her older sister decided to attend Northwest, Miller knew that she too would someday become a Bearcat.
"Growing up I always came and watched their games and wanted to be a Bearcat," said Miller.
Even former Bearcat women's head coach Wayne Winstead, a local resident to Worth County before his death, knew that Miller had the talent to play basketball at Northwest.
"Wayne would always talk to me about her (April), about what a good kid she was," said Steinmeyer.
In her first two seasons, Miller averaged less than 10 minutes a game, but a strong work ethic has led to her seeing plenty of time on the hardwood recently.
"The biggest adjustment to the game was the speed of it and the competition every single day," said Miller when asked about the transition to Northwest from a small high school. "I came here knowing I'd have to fight every day for a position."
Her hard work also carries over to the classroom. She graduated with a double major, instructional technology and education, in just three-and-a-half years with a 4.0 grade point average and is currently working on her master's of business administration degree. Miller is expected to graduate next December.
"College is actually easier than I thought it was going to be, class-wise," said Miller.
Due to her outstanding work in the classroom, Miller has not needed a basketball scholarship. She has been on an academic scholarship since her time at Northwest, freeing up a scholarship for the women's basketball program.
When Miller first arrived at Northwest she started as a wing, but has since moved to point guard where she feels more comfortable.
"Shooting's not really my specialty because I'm always looking for the pass," said Miller.
You won't find Miller running up the score, but many of her attributes go far beyond scoring points. She shines in her role as the starting point guard and typically defends the opposition's best offensive player. Her teammates honored her by naming her their team captain.
"Hopefully it's because they (my teammates) respect me and I work hard," said Miller about being named captain.
Miller is more of a lead-by-example captain, according to coach Steinmeyer, but her words still hit home to her teammates.
"When she says something, the players know she means it," added Steinmeyer.
The quiet, emotionally-consistent style Miller displays on the basketball court certainly carries over to her everyday lifestyle. Whatever Miller strives to do in the future one thing is for certain, she will do it as cool as a cucumber.
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
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