Diamond Miller believes she is part of the best background in America.
The junior guard from Maryland tells Swish Appeal that the duo of her and fellow junior guard Ashley Owusu put the Terrapins ahead of all other guard combinations in the country.
“We have enough confidence in ourselves,” Miller said. “We work hard every off-season, so why not put ourselves at the top? Of course, with a lot of growth, we are still developing as players, but I think we are both confident in our abilities, so why not put ourselves at number 1? ”
Owusu recorded Maryland last season averaging 17.9 points, 5.9 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. The 6-foot Virginia native has a tight handle, a quick first step and strength to follow through contact at the edge. Her tool also led the Terrapins last season; it was more than two assists per game than any teammate from Maryland.
“Ashley is a very tall IQ girl,” Miller said. “She knows when she has to give certain people the ball, and I just think we’m sorry. She knows where I am and where I want the ball every time. We’ve been playing for three years, so we know each other’s game to the point. It’s just a lot of fun, I like to play with her and she’s a bucket, so that helps. “
Miller was Maryland’s second points learner last season, averaging 17.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.4 steals and a block. The 3-foot native of New Jersey uses her height to get in a few dribbles on the edge, occupying a lot of real estate on the defensive side of the floor. She said she grew up to be the hybrid guard forwards of Candace Parker, Breanna Stewart and Elena Delle Donne, as well as Maya Moore and Skylar Diggins-Smith. Some of her favorite basketball memories were watching the Notre Dame UConn rivalry, and her admiration for star players is one of the things that made the game fun for her. Miller’s size advantage as a guard caused a growing season in young people after he had crimes as a child. Away from her youth games and exercises, she regularly competed against her siblings.
Her passion for playing and studying the game led her to make the All-Big Ten First Team in 2021. Miller and Owusu became the main reasons why Maryland entered as favorites at the NCAA Tournament to make a deep turn.
March, however, had other plans.
In the Sweet 16, against first-year Texas coach Vic Schaefer, and the WNBA draft no. 1 of 2021, Charli Collier, Maryland dropped the first half by a double-digit lead and lost 64-61.
“It hurt,” Miller said. “Simple and easy. The loss was a dagger. We felt that of course we could have gone beyond that, but we met our goals and it was just a nagging pain that I felt for the longest time because my mind thought I should, could have had. ”
Miller thought about what she could have done to help her team. She thought about the simple mistakes she made, the wrong communication, defensive interruptions and setbacks.
She said she has watched the game about four or five times since March and has since forgiven herself.
“We can not take anything for granted, because that’s how I felt in that game, and it’s like flipping through the page,” she said. “We’re going to be back this year, and we’re going to play harder and work on our details, which cost us the game in Texas.”
Miller sharpened her game out of season, and she was grateful for the opportunity to augment her with some of the other elite talents in the country while playing with Team USA at the AmeriCup in June. She said the experience in the US gave her a taste of some of the best professional basketball prospects, and the fact that she held her own position was a confidence booster.
Becoming a professional has always been Miller’s dream as a basketball player. Even if NCAA athletes are approved to reimburse their name, image and likeness, Miller said she will not wait to become a professional if the opportunity presents itself.
“If I get the chance, I’m leaving early just because it’s my dream,” she said. ‘My dream is not to play basketball forever. You can not stay in one place for too long, so I feel that if you have the opportunity to go, you can turn the page and start a professional career? But it’s just me, personally. This is what I would do. ”
Miller will be 21 at the time of the 2022 draft, so they would have to lower lowering the minimum age from 22 for her to go to her junior year pro.