Wednesday, May 3, 2017

McMillan to the Great Northwest

One could possibly mistake the sport Josh McMillan plays especially if possessing dreadful eyesight but alas no water is involved and neither do the participants rack up scores based upon degree of difficulty.

The 6-foot-3 Leland High (San Jose) basketball talent Josh McMillan has a well known penchant for diving after any loose ball that enters his domain or anywhere thereabouts.That willingness to splay out in search of gaining a possession plus his willingness to step in front of opposing players barreling down the paint front and center highlight his game and have left coaches in his league saying 'I would love to have you on my team but I hate playing against you!'.

"My intensity, my willingness to take a charge or diving on the ball holds everybody together," McMillan explained. "I'm a glue guy. My energy changes the team dynamic and sets the tone in practice."

Now the is taking that mojo to the University of Puget Sound

Why the Loggers?

"The culture of togetherness -- teammates are family and alumni are treated as though they are still on the team. Also, I get to compete at the college level and earn an elite education without compromising either school or basketball."

One of the reasons for his certitude is because he took two visits to the school. On his official sojourn, "I sat in on a practice and also sat in on classes so I was able to be a student for a couple of days." He was accompanied by his entire family on his second trip.

McMillan is looking to major in biology with a minor in environmental policy. He is bringing a 4.1 weighted grade point average alongside the idea of becoming a veterinarian.

Asked about his best basketball moments he quite fittingly said, "I took a charge on the first play of my last high school game and also the last play before going out." Also, attesting to his long range shooting accuracy, "I'm tied for second place for the most threes in a single season in Leland history."

Due to lack of size on the team, his playing days at Leland required him to primarily play inside. "Being at the four and five was out of position for me but I made up for it by playing smart." That and his overall toughness. McMillan earned First Team All-Blossom Valley South League honors as his squad finished 17-10 overall and 10-4 in league this season.

What really aided his attractiveness to college recruiters was a position switch in the spring and summer. "I played guard for the West Valley Basketball Club (WVBC) but I could also go inside and post up my defender."

Speaking of McMillan WVBC Coach Bob Bramlett said, "Josh is a rare breed of human, singularly focused and driven to succeed. The plan for him all along was to use basketball, not let it use you. He shied away from other options due to the Ivy League type environment he will encounter at Puget Sound. From the first time former player (and now coach) Lee McGowan, brought him into our gym, I fell in love with Josh and knew he would be successful. Josh’s parents, Wayne and Kathryn, are models for what parents of student-athletes should understand and how to conduct themselves."

Asked who he wished to thank for his moving on to college hoops, McMillan listed "my past teammates, my family, Bobby [Bramlett] and Al [Grigsby, another WVBC coach], my seventh and eighth grade basketball coaches Jamal Mpenda and Roland Genise, James Kelbert [a former Leland stalwart now at Pomona Pitzer] who really helped me out when I told him I wanted to play basketball in college." When asked for a role model, McMillan named Ron Baker, a former Wichita State guard who played for the New York Knicks this season despite not being drafted.

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