Sports Odds and Ends
Diamond Miller, Minnesota’s 2023 top draft pick, has all the makings of being a star. She’s fearless in getting her shot off, but also a rookie still adjusting to the pro game.
The 6-3 Miller comes from a long line of athletic greatness. Her father Lance played college ball at Villanova and also played overseas as a pro. Older sisters Adreana and Laniya both played Division I basketball, and her younger brother Landen is a budding star.
“My mom didn’t play basketball, but she’s 5-11 on a really good day,” her daughter pointed out. “My dad is 6’5” so I guess two tall people made a tall baby.”
In addition to her parents, her late grandfather, David Miller, was perhaps her biggest inspiration and at least her loudest booster, admitted Miller, who graduated from Maryland with a degree in family science.
“I don’t care how loud the gym was,” she said. “You always heard his voice. He made it known he was there…the good and the bad.”
Miller was a projected high first-round pick in the recent WNBA draft. She finished her high school career as its all-time leading scorer (2,460) and McDonald’s All-American and New Jersey’s Gatorade Player of the Year.
At Maryland, she increased her scoring from seven points a game in her freshman year to almost 20 points a contest in her senior year. Her individual honors included three-time All-Big Ten and second-team All American in her senior year.
But the first-year Minnesota Lynx told MSR she never envisioned herself playing pro ball. Her father insisted otherwise. “I’m like, no way. He’s just saying that because he’s my dad. I had to believe it. And once I believed it, I just put in a lot of work.
“I had to believe that I could be a WNBA player,” said Miller, who became the highest draft pick by Minnesota (second overall) since Maya Moore was picked first in 2011.
“She’s figuring it out,” noted Minnesota Lynx Coach Cheryl Reeve after a game last week. “She has to learn. We will continue to invest in her.”
Miller hopes to shine like her first name—she explained that the name Diamond wasn’t initially in her parents’ plans. “I was supposed to be named Mariana because my mom’s name is Dreana, and then my mom’s sister said you need to change it. I don’t know how they got Diamond, but they picked it.”
It’s been almost two months, counting a three-week training camp in early May, since Miller has become a professional basketball player. It has taken some time for her to get used to it. Asked if she’s there yet, Miller said, “Yes and no.
“I realized when I have free time, I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, it’s just my job.’ But it’s definitely new to me.
“I’m just absorbing it day-by-day…just having fun with it,” concluded the Lynx rookie forward. “I’m happy to be here.”