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AZ Power Tucson Red 17U team, which includes Sean Miller’s son Cameron (second from right), listens to postgame comments from coach David Thomas
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — AZ Power Tucson Red 17U coach David Thomas is in a peculiar position. He coaches the son of a major college head coach. Thomas is teaching the game to a kid who has been around basketball every day of his life.
The dad, Arizona coach Sean Miller, has even produced a video titled, “Sean Miller’s Father and Son Basketball Workout”.
Cameron Miller, Miller’s second-youngest of three sons, is not one to show indifference to Thomas because he already knows of what Thomas speaks. It’s quite the opposite. Miller shows his undivided attention to Thomas’ instructions as the point guard for the AZ Power team during team huddles or when he is bringing the ball up the court.
The results of the young Miller’s leadership ability — by placing his coach and his team above all else: A 31-5 record for his team after it beat Powerhouse White 68-50 in bracket play today in the Bigfoot Hoops Vegas Classic 17U Gold tournament. The team plays in a quarterfinal game today at 5:45 p.m. at the Tarkanian Basketball Academy.
“It’s been a pleasure coaching Cameron,” Thomas said. “Cameron is just a competitor. He’s an all-out competitor. He’s mean. He’s tough. He and I kind of see eye to eye. When you see eye to eye with your point guard, it translates to good things on to the court.”
Cameron, who is aged between brothers Austin and Braden, will be a senior at Salpointe Catholic this school year. That Lancers will be a team to watch in 2016-17 with Cameron passing the ball with promising sophomore wing Majok Deng, who received a scholarship offer from New Mexico on Friday.
Watching the way Cameron runs the AZ Power Tucson Red team, like a coach on the floor at the point, Deng is bound to improve up on his game.
“Cameron’s super smart,” said Thomas, who is the head coach at Pusch Ridge. “He sees the floor really well. He’s a really great shooter. He’s really good off of pick-and-roll settings.
Can’t say how proud of my 17u team I am. We’ve compiled a 28-4 record, haven’t lost 2 games in a row & both SRs will continue their careers
AZ POWER TUCSON RED 17U TEAM
All seniors in 2016-17:
Cameron Miller, PG, Salpointe
Jack Drescher, SG, Ironwood Ridge
Cole Gerken, PG, Ironwood Ridge
Josh Herzog, F, Catalina Foothills
Brendan Gary, SG, Sahuaro
Alec McCall, F, Salpointe
Devan Gary, PG, Sahuaro
Jackson Breshears, SF, Salpointe
Nick Rosquist, G, The Gregory School
Kyle Eggers, G, Pusch Ridge
“We run some plays with pick and rolls and he knows whether to turn the corner, whether to hit the roller, or whether to step back and shoot. He’s one of the better point guards I’ve coached in my 12 to 15 years.”
Some fans have asked: Does Sean Miller get to watch his son play? The answer is yes, mostly during the regular season, although the elder Miller has a demanding schedule as head coach of a college basketball power. During the summer evaluation period, it’s difficult for Sean to be there because he must be with his assistants scouting the top-notch players.
Miller’s wife Amy Miller is at all of Cameron’s games.
In addition to the promise of Cameron at the point, the AZ Power Tucson Red team boasts two Sahuaro seniors — twins Brendan and Devan Gary — who have been offered scholarships at Beloit College in Wisconsin.
Many of Thomas’ players in the AAU program have drawn attention from college programs from various levels, including junior colleges.
“It’s been a great run,” Thomas said. “I have two seniors (the Gary twins) who both got recruited and will play college basketball next year. Several of the juniors have received offers and they will continue to play through next spring.
“We’re in a good position with kids who want to play basketball and go on to the next level. It may not be Division I, it may not be Division II or III or NAIA, but these guys are all capable and willing.”
The group is a mixture of mostly guards with some of them asked to defend bigger frontcourt players. The size discrepancy has not stopped them from winning 86 percent of their games this spring and summer.
“We’re always going to be undersized,” Thomas said. “The good thing about these guys is they’re super intelligent. There are times we strung five or six passes together and we’ve passed up open looks to get even better looks. Defensively, I think we’re one of the better defensive teams.
“I’ve had super talented teams … super, super talented teams … but this team by far has been the most fun to coach because they’re always together. Any time we’re in the hotel and I need to find them, they are all in one room. … They share the ball.They all like each other. They all work hard for each other. If you would have told me back in February that this team was going to be (31-5), I would have laughed at you and said, ‘No shot’.”
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.