Photo by Joi Williams / MTSU Sidelines
Story by Sammi Lovvorn / Contributing Writer
“It’s Miller time.”
Many students and fans chant that phrase at each Middle Tennessee men’s basketball game to get redshirt sophomore walk-on Chase Miller into the game. It’s what gets the team and crowd pumped up when Miller finally checks into the game.
Miller is widely known as the “hype man” at Murphy Center, as he gets the fans pumped up for any moment leading up to his inclusion in the game.
And do the fans get hyped up? Absolutely, it’s a chance for many of them to see their favorite player on the team in action.
All Miller knows is that he appreciates the support, even if he doesn’t understand it sometimes.
“I have no idea (why they love me), I wish I had an answer for you,” Miller said. “I think it started with Kappa Sigma my freshman year, when they brought signs, and it just took off. I’m very fortunate for it though, and it’s very entertaining.”
The crowd is even louder when Miller scores.
During a home game against Rice University this past season, the Blue Raiders led the Owls 91-71 with 1:32 on the clock when Miller made his way to scorer’s table. The crowd rose to their feet and went ballistic as he fired a three-pointer and watched as the ball sailed through the net with a majestic “swoosh” sound.
And then the Blue Raider faithful when wild.
— Rusty Ellis (@RustyEllis13) February 9, 2018
The basket was the first of his collegiate career, but it wasn’t the last. In the team’s First Round game of the National Invitation Tournament against Vermont, Miller made another three in front of a crowd of over 5,000 fans to close the game for Middle.
While he may not get the playing time of a star athlete, Miller continues to work just as hard as a scholarship player. He attends all the workouts and travels to all the away games during the season with the rest of the team.
He filled the same role he does now when he was a junior in high school, and it was a feeling Miller didn’t enjoy.
“I didn’t want to be the last guy (off) the bench again,” Miller said of his mindset heading into his senior season.
He used that motivation for his senior season, where he scored 20.5 points a game and earned First Team, All-District honors at Shelton High School (Texas).
In his time at MTSU, Miller developed a strong relationship former Head Coach Kermit Davis. Davis was recently hired as the new coach at Ole Miss, and while it has been a tough pill for many in the Middle Tennessee community to swallow, Miller has been nothing but encouraging for his old coach.
“I’m incredibility happy for him and his family,” Miller said. “It’s great to see his success here correlate to a great job in a top-notch conference.”
He is more than just your average basketball player; even with all the hype throughout the MTSU fan base, Miller continues to stay optimistic and humble. He takes his basketball and personal career one day at a time.
“It’s never about me,” Miller said of his approach. “It’s about the team.”
When he’a not on the court, Miller is highly involved with several other organizations on campus. One of the main groups he is involved with is Kappa Sigma. Through the fraternity, he gets to be involved with one of the things he loves most: community service.
One of Miller’s favorite service projects is when he and other Kappa Sigma members read to different children in the Murfreesboro community at several elementary schools in the area, including Siegel and Reeves-Rogers Elementary.
Miller describes himself as a hard-working, family-centered person. Both his father and grandfather always preached for him to stay humble, and he reminds himself of that every day. Being on the basketball team and an athlete in general has also thought Miller to handle many life lessons.
“It’s taught me to handle adversity and how to make connections,” Miller said.
Miller plans to continue working hard, as his senior year starts in the fall semester later this year.
“I’m a team guy,” Miller said. “I will finish out (the year) strong.”
To contact Sports Editor Rusty Ellis, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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