Miller’s crossing

MEN’S BASKETBALL /// March Madness
Agoura legend in NCAA tourney with Montana State Bobcats



FROM AGOURA TO BOZEMAN—Jed Miller is a sophomore guard for the Montana State University men’s basketball team, which qualified for its third straight NCAA Tournament. The Agoura High grad is on the dean’s list with a 3.9 GPA. Photos courtesy of Montana State University Athletics

FROM AGOURA TO BOZEMAN—Jed Miller is a sophomore guard for the Montana State University men’s basketball team, which qualified for its third straight NCAA Tournament. The Agoura High grad is on the dean’s list with a 3.9 GPA. Photos courtesy of Montana State University Athletics

Step aside, Luke Skywalker, this Jedi can dance.

Jed Miller, former Acorn Newspapers Player of the Year for the Agoura High boys’ basketball team, helped Montana State qualify for the NCAA Tournament. The Bobcats opened the dance with a First Four game against Grambling State late Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio.

The sophomore guard has now gone dancing twice, and Montana State, in the middle of its golden age, has earned a school-record three straight NCAA bids.

“It’s what you dream about as a kid,” Miller told The Acorn on Monday morning from the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport terminal while waiting for a charter flight to the Buckeye State. “This year wasn’t supposed to go like this.”

The Bobcats previous head coach bolted for a gig in the Utah wilderness, and the team was picked to finish seventh in the Big Sky Conference in a preseason poll by coaches and media members. Weber State was predicted to finish first. Weber State does not have Damian Lillard anymore, but Montana State has Jed Miller.

 

 

Montana State (17-17 overall at press time) struggled in the regular season but won the Big Sky tourney by reeling off wins against Weber State, Sacramento State and finally rival Montana 85-70 in the championship game.

“It’s an exciting opportunity,” head coach Matt Logie told the press in Dayton early in the week. “It obviously comes with a lot of exposure for our basketball family and for our young men, which is well-deserved.”

Miller has been a key player off the bench. He averages 2.6 points and 1.5 rebounds per game in limited minutes, but he’s dished out 24 assists against only 11 turnovers, and he’s swiped 15 steals. He knocks down 86.7% of his free throws.

The guard said it was surreal filling out a bracket with Montana State cutting down the nets next month in Arizona.

“Going to the tournament and seeing your team’s name on the brackets that you’re filling out, it’s a really cool experience,” Miller said. “I filled out multiple brackets. Of course, I definitely have one with Montana State winning it all.”

 

 

Miller, who scored a Ventura County area record 62 points in one game his senior year at Agoura, has made The Acorn basketball community beam with pride.

“He has such tremendous confidence and love for the game. That’s something you see from him even on the bench or in games,” Agoura head coach Conley Oliver said. “No moment is too big for him. He really feels like he should be in these moments. . . . He’s a high-character kid who does all the right things, who always puts his team first. It’s going to take him really far.”

The Bobcat’s younger brother, Zane Miller, enjoyed a strong freshman season with Puget Sound University in Tacoma, Washington. Zane Miller averaged 9.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game while shooting 48% from the field and 41% from beyond the 3-point arc for the Loggers.

The Millers nearly crossed paths on Dec. 5: Montana State faced Washington in Seattle, and Puget Sound had a home outing against Pacific Lutheran. The games tipped off one hour apart, however, and the brothers didn’t get to see each other. Jed called Zane, who scored 13 points in a win, on the phone to congratulate his younger brother on a good game.

“He called me to say how proud he was. I really appreciated that,” Zane Miller said. “My parents were probably streaming my game on their phone while they were at his.”

The brothers don’t see each other much now that they’re throwing lightning bolts beyond Kanan Road.

“I only got to see him for 16 hours this year, at Christmastime,” Zane said. “The summer will probably be the next time we see each other.”

What makes Jed Miller so good? The Logger knows.

“He’s just so committed to his teammates,” said Zane Miller, a 3.7 GPA dean’s list student majoring in business. “He doesn’t care if he’s playing one or two minutes in a game, he’s still going to practice as hard as he can. He just loves basketball more than a lot of people. He puts in so much extra time. . .

“If you love something and put in as much time into something as him, you can be successful.”

Jed Miller, a 3.9 GPA dean’s list student studying business marketing, has found a second home in Bozeman, a growing city nestled south of the Bridger Mountains and roughly an hour and a half drive to Yellowstone National Park.

“This place is energetic. It’s a fun college town. There’s always things to do—unless it’s negative degrees outside. It’s a fun, active place,” Miller said.

“The community feels like everyone’s together. Everyone supports the school and supports athletics. There’s just really good people here.”

The Chargers have history in March Madness.

Ky Feldman, an Agoura grad and current prep coach in New Hampshire, was a walk-on guard for Syracuse in the 2016 Final Four.

This tournament, at least for local hoops fans, is about Jed Miller.

“I’m trying to represent Agoura in the best way I can,” Miller said. “Not a lot of people in our area are playing in March Madness.”

Sports editor Eliav Appelbaum is on X @EliavAppelbaum