Franklin’s Diamond Miller Makes Finals For USA Basketball’s U16 National Team

Franklin’s Diamond Miller, seen in action during the 2017 Tournament of Champions finals, is in the running to represent the United States in the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Argentina.

Franklin High School basketball standout Diamond Miller is one of 18 women high school basketball players in the running to represent the United States in the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Argentina.

Miller is competing to make the team that travels to Argentina at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Col.

Like her fellow finalists, Miller, a guard, has made it through several cuts, with one remaining.

Miller and her father, Lance, have been in Colorado Springs since last week for the tryouts.

While the 18 finalists are considered the team, the traveling team headed for Buenos Aires on June 4 will be comprised of 12 players; the announcement of who will be on that team is expected on May 31, Lance Miller said.

The competition will run from June 7-14.

“I think her chances are pretty good” to be picked for the team that travels,  Lance Miller, who is also Diamond’s coach, said from Colorado. “She’s fought to get this far, so I think they’re pretty good.”

Lance Miller said the 18 girls will spend May 29 and 30 together, without parents, in a sort of “boot camp.”

“Nobody can see the practices now,” he said. “For the next two days, they practice, they train, give interviews and do basketball activities and non-basketball activities as a team,” he said. “Then they decide which 12 goes to Argentina.”

Lance Miler said that the process has been stressful, but the women are so physically and mentally spent by the end of each day that sleep is not a problem.

“It was go to the gym, practice against a high level of competition, then wait another two hours to see if you advance to the next level, and then go back to the gym,” he said. “It was constant physical and mental stress.”

Back home, things were a little different.

“Last night was the first night I actually slept,” Dreana Miller said. “Last night, knowing that this was the big night, I slept. We got up this morning, we said a prayer, and my husband texted me and said we’re in. I said, thank you.”

“This is what she loves to do, and she’s so fortunate to have a dad/coach to give her all the resources she needs,” she said.

Miller had to fight her way onto the team from the beginning.

The U16 Women’s National Team selection committee invited 35 players from across the country to try out for the team; Diamond, who is ranked 20th in the country in the espnW rankings for the Class of 2019, was not one of them.

She, along with thousands of other girls, applied for a spot. From those applications, an additional 100 or so were selected, Diamond among them.

Diamond is one of three “walk-ons” to get picked for the finals, Lance Miller said.

All in all, an “outstanding accomplishment,” he said.

“I’m pretty excited, especially being out here and seeing what the girls had to go through physically and mentally to get to this point,” he said.

“I’m overwhelmed and just so excited,” Dreana Miller said. “This is a lot to digest, that is for sure, but all good excitement.”

In a press release about the team, Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women’s National Team director and chair of the selection committee, said, “As with every trials in our country, it’s an extremely competitive process. As a committee, we were very pleased with the progression from the very first skills session through the end of the trials. The athletes were engaged, talented and they pushed each other, and the committee to make the right decision. We feel like we were able to find 18 athletes who are versatile, who have every position and type of player covered, that can push the ball, play in the half court and defend in many ways. We have 18 athletes that will make it difficult to get to 12 players, but we feel the team that will be selected will be successful in Argentina.”


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