Ohio State basketball: Alter grad thriving in new role with Buckeyes

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Former Alter star Braxtin Miller has become an important player for Ohio State women's basketball after transferring from Oklahoma State.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Back in her old state, Braxtin Miller is enjoying her new role as veteran leader for the Ohio State women’s basketball team.

"It's honestly been an experience I've probably had for the first time,” the 5-11 guard said. “It's been very different. At times challenging, but it's super rewarding.”

An All-Ohio performer and four-year stand out at Alter who won three state championships and lost only five games, Miller began her college career at Oklahoma State.

She was an immediate success in the Big 12, averaging 13.1 points with 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 62 games over two seasons, but opted to transfer last summer.

That brought her back to her home state, where she knew coach Kevin McGuff was building a roster that would be high on talent but low on experience.

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After starting a rebuild with the talented trio of Dorka Juhasz, Aaliyah Patty and Janai Crooms in the class of 2018, McGuff signed a seven-person 2019 class considered among the best in the country.

Then he added Miller to provide something the athletic, skilled newcomers would need: Experience and perspective.

“She's that player she can do a little bit of everything, and most importantly she knows when to do what, which I knew, especially early on our freshman might not know that,” McGuff said. “I knew they would have the talent but not the experience to do it, and she brings that level of experience that we really need.”

Heading into a Wednesday night home clash with Nebraska, the Buckeyes were 16-9 overall with a 9-5 conference record good for fifth in the Big Ten.

That includes a 10-3 mark since Dec. 31 after the team started 6-5.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Buckeyes coach Kevin McGuff happy with strong February from young team.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Though her scoring average has been cut roughly in half to 7.3 points per game, Miller has been a steadying influence throughout while learning to contribute what the team needs when it needs it — more Scottie Pippen than Michael Jordan.

“My whole role has had to switch just depending on really the game,” said Miller, who has scored in double figures eight times and handed out four or more assists 10 times. "I have so much talent around me that sometimes my main role just needs to be to distribute. Sometimes it needs to be to keep people's heads in the game. I really just have to change the role depending on what's going on in the game so it's been challenging but super rewarding. It's been awesome.”

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Heading into the Nebraska game, she led the team in minutes played and assists (90) while providing just what McGuff was looking for when he re-recruited her last summer.

"I knew that she'd have to provide leadership, and even though she hadn't been here before, she's been in big games at Oklahoma State and in the Big 12 so I mean she's doing that,” McGuff said. “She's a tough defender. She provides leadership. We tend to execute better from an offensive standpoint when she's on the floor a little bit better on the offensive end so she's doing what I thought she could do for us."

Meanwhile, she is enjoying the benefits of being back in Ohio.

“When I was at Oklahoma State, my mom maybe saw like two of my games a year, maybe three,” she said. "It never really upset me, but obviously it's nice now that she's been to almost all my games at home. I get to drive home to see my family and stuff more often, which I haven't been able to do for two years so it was definitely nice."

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