USA Women’s U19 World Cup Roster Selection Better Late Than Never for Diamond Miller
Dreana Miller knew there was something special about her daughter when she was born.
Diamond Miller was supposed to be named Maryana Miller, in line with a rhyming scheme that went along with her mom and sisters -- Adreana and LaNiya.
“My mom decided to change it up, because she felt Diamond was a unique name and I was supposed to be one of a kind,” said Miller, who is entering her freshmen year at the University of Maryland.
A 6-foot-1 swing guard, Miller was added to the roster for 2019 USA Basketball U19 World Cup Team that is being led by Jeff Walz, USA and University of Louisville head coach, along with collegiate head coaches and USA assistant coaches Natasha Adair of the University of Delaware and Cori Close from UCLA.
Miller joined in on training camp and with the team for practices before heading to the FIBA U19 World Cup that will be played July 20-28 in Bangkok.
The 18-year-old Miller, who helped lead the USA to a 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, said being a late addition to the U19 World Cup Team didn’t dampen her enthusiasm.
“At first, not getting picked, there were a lot of mixed feelings, but I knew it wasn’t the end of the world,” she said. “Just because you don’t get picked, maybe they thought you weren’t quite ready for that situation, or in picking the best team you weren’t the right player that fit in that open spot.”
But when she got the call on July 2 that she will once again be wearing “USA” across her chest, she said it was like a sigh of relief and a vindication that working hard and being a good teammate are signs of mental maturity that will carry her far.
“Being called back to the team, there was obviously a lot of joy and happiness,” she said. “It was a real confidence builder.”
Not that Miller lacks for anything in the confidence department. She is quick, with an acumen for ball handling and shot blocking.
She averaged 21.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game as a senior for Franklin High School in Somerset, New Jersey, leading her team to an undefeated season and state championship. That earned her some remarkable accolades in 2019: New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year, MaxPreps All-American first team, all-state first team and USA Today New Jersey Player of the Year.
Miller, who idolizes Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, continued to hit the gym and practice after not originally making the team in order to prepare for college.
Now, she is ready for what lies ahead in Thailand.
The trip to Thailand is Miller’s second journey outside the continental United States. Her first trip was to Buenos Aires, Argentina, when she helped the USA to win the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship gold medal.
“I just went to those tryouts for fun, really just to see what I could do,” Miller said. “I actually did really well. It was pretty cool being picked to that team and knowing that people recognized my skills.”
Even though she said there was a great rush of emotion being able to wear the USA uniform, that gold-medal game didn’t really feel like it had the weight of the world attached to it.
“It felt like just another basketball game at the time,” she admitted, “but looking back, it felt amazing knowing I was representing not just my country, but my family, my school, so many people. That was a really good moment in my life.”
She loves her time on the court and never misses an opportunity to step onto it. That love of the game comes from within her family. Adreana, her oldest sister, played at Ohio State University before graduating. LaNiya, her older sister, plays at Stony Brook University. Her young brother Landen still plays at Franklin High.
And of course, her father Lance Miller has been a big influence. She has studied film of her father, who starred at Villanova University, and has recognized some of her tendencies in his game. He also coached her in AAU.
Miller said she’s excited to work with college coaches before she reaches the Maryland campus, because she’s not ready to rest on the accolades she won in high school. She feels their input will help her be prepared for what it’s like to play at the NCAA Division I level.
“There’s still more to be done and I have a chip on my shoulder,” she said.
Described as competitive and relentless, Miller is ready to show that and more during her journey in Thailand.