2021-22 Winter Preview: Miller Boys Basketball

By Jordan Burton (For OzarksSportsZone.com)

Sean Price’s first season at Miller saw the Cardinals win 20 games and the program’s first district championship since 2011. Miller would go on to lose to state power Greenwood, which was led by All-American Aminu Mohammed.

Price is now tasked with helping the program take the next step, which is sustaining success. He returns three starters who will look to make sure this winter is a reload and not a rebuild, led by senior Brenden Thom.

As a junior the 6-foot-3 forward averaged 9.4 points and four rebounds. He will likely be asked to take over some of the scoring load vacated by last year’s district MVP Joel Kleeman.

“Brenden played a major role in our success last season,” said Price. “He deserves a lot of credit for the role he played. He was asked to change and become a different player then what he was used to. He bought in and trusted and it showed in his game.

“For this season Brenden will have to take a similar leap in his play. His role will change from a primarily defensive first player to a player that will have to take on more of a scoring and leadership role. I expect he will adjust to his new role and will have a great senior season for our team.”

Thom will be rejoined in the starting lineup by classmates Kaleb Grosebeck and Logn Neild.

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Both 6-foot-2 wings were high level defenders last year that will now be asked to be more involved offensively as well.

“Kaleb is a great defender and plays hard. He also took on the role of being a defender first and wasn’t asked to look to score very often. For our team to have success this season he will need to continue guarding at a high level, but also be able to grow on the offensive end of the floor.

“Logan is a big, strong kid that brings toughness to the game. I look forward to watching him continue to grow this season and be more effective offensively and defensively for our team. Logan plays hard and has the ability to really help us this year.”

Junior Garrett Stewart will transition from sixth man to now be a starter for the Cardinals, adding versatility across the board.

“Garrett has the ability to guard all five positions and I think he will be able to score some points for us this season. I am excited to see what his next step is on this basketball team and the success that he will help us have.”

Juniors Alex Pennington and Owen Pritchett, as well as freshman Nate Hill, will also see significant playing time this winter.

“Alex will be a key newcomer to our team. He was on the brink of playing varsity minutes last year. He is someone that will have to handle the basketball for us and knock down open shots. Owen will be a player that should see his role grow this year. He is a big, strong kid that plays with a high motor.

“Nate is a smart player that can come in and make good decisions. He will need to be able to guard and not turn the ball over to have a major impact for us this season.”

One adjustment for both Price and the program is that he will now also coach the girls’ program, one of few coaches in the Ozarks to take on both programs simultaneously.

He – as well as assistant Ryan White – know it’ll be a challenge but are eager about the opportunity.

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“This will be a very unique challenge and one that couldn’t happen without Coach White. He will take on a larger role as well and will also be coaching both teams. He is a very hard worker and has a great understanding of our system and expectations. I also have great administration that has entrusted us with both teams.

“I feel the biggest adjustment will come in terms of time. We will have to be very creative with practices to make sure both groups are getting everything done that needs to be done. There will be an obvious adjustment of coaching boys my whole career to now coaching girls, but I believe that coaching is coaching and I don’t believe I will have to adjust the way I coach or what I coach. Our job is to figure out what is best for both groups and put them in the best positions to be successful.”

Miller will host Greenfield and Verona for a jamboree on Nov. 15 before opening the 2021-22 season on Nov. 29 at the Marionville Tournament.

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