Braden Miller has a ‘Ty’ to South Laurel champs

March 17, 2016 FieldsColumn

Braden Miller

Braden Miller

When South Laurel’s Braden Miller hit a three-pointer midway through the first quarter of the Cardinals’ game against Christian County Thursday afternoon, he glanced into the Rupp Arena stands and spotted his family celebrating.

“It was a surreal feeling when I hit that shot,” Braden said. “To hear the noise of the crowd and to look up and see my family. My (older) brother Brennan told me after the region that if I hit a shot in Rupp, to look for him. It’s something I’ll never forget.”

What made the moment even more special was that it was part of South Laurel’s stirring 53-50 victory over Christian County, which put the Cardinals in the state tournament’s elite eight.

South Laurel, rated the second best team in the Sweet Sixteen, must be considered a threat to win the title, just like it did in 2005.

Braden Miller was only 8 when the Cards cut down the nets in Rupp, but he remembers being there. And now he has a family tie to those champions. His sister Calley is married to Ty Proffitt, who was a sophomore star for Steve Wright’s title team.

Proffitt played a year at Notre Dame before transferring to Morehead State. He was on the Morehead team that shocked Louisville in the NCAA Tournament in 2011.

Is it nice having a brother-in-law with that kind of hoops cred?

“It is,” Braden said. “When I was young he’d help me with my three-point shooting, and we talk and text a lot. He texted me before the game today wishing me good luck.”

Proffitt has known Braden since he was a kid. Proffitt had Braden’s mom Patty as a teacher at South Laurel, and he started dating Calley in high school.

Proffitt thinks a lot of Braden, whom he considers “more or less my brother.

“You hear all the time about somebody being the perfect teammate. Braden fits that to a T. He’s their glue guy.”

South Laurel Coach Jeff Davis has the same opinion of his 5-foot-10 senior guard.

Miller started every game for South Laurel last season, and the first 18 games this season. But his struggles on the court prompted Davis to start freshman J.J. Ramey for the Cards’ stretch drive.

Most seniors wouldn’t have taken kindly to losing their starting spot, especially to a freshman. Miller, however, kept his head and spirits up.

Thursday afternoon, for example, he missed out on being introduced as a starter under the Rupp Arena spotlight. But he didn’t let it bother him. He took the court less than three minutes into the game, and soon after hit that three-pointer.

Jared Grubb led the Cards with 20 points, including a clutch three late in the game. Andrew Griffith had 12 points and 9 rebounds. And 6-8, 265-pound Caleb Taylor was the big man in the middle with 11 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.

Miller played 23 of 32 minutes and quietly contributed 3 points, 6 assists and a bucketful of leadership to South Laurel’s victory.

“Our team mentality, Braden helps create that,” Davis said. “His thing is all about watching each other’s back.

“When he got that demotion to the bench, he didn’t pout. You don’t find that often in sports anymore. He turned it into a positive and that’s a beautiful thing.”