football

McMillan blazing his own path

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All his life, Jamelle McMillan has been around basketball. His father, Nate, played at a high profile college program, enjoyed a long NBA career and is now coaching his second team in the league. The younger McMillan has soaked in all of the knowledge and now gearing up for his final year at O'Dea High School in Seattle, Wash.
McMillan's father, Nate, is the head coach of the Portland Trailblazers in the NBA. He played nearly 800 games during his 12-year career. He was known as one of the top defenders in the league. Now he is one of the bright young coaches in the sport.
The younger McMillan said there is no pressure with that. But there is the pressure of carving out his game on his own. So far, so good. McMillan, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound point guard, enjoyed a big spring with the Friends of Hoop AAU squad.
"I think after the Dallas tournament, I felt like I was more of Jamelle McMillan and not just Nate McMillan's son," he said.
McMillan, the No. 70 ranked player in the country, is one of the top backcourt defenders in the country. A heady guard in the half court and fast and athletic in the full court, McMillan has shown he can play in both types of offenses. Big and an above average athlete, McMillan mixed his pass first point guard skills well with his physical traits.
One part of his game McMillan wanted to improve was his jumper, something that college coaches wondered if he could fine tune before coming to the next level.
"It's something that you have to have if you want to play in the game today," McMillan said. "After Dallas, that was one of the things that they noticed with my game now. I think I mainly shocked myself when I was shooting the ball like I was.
"I wasn't really feeling confident with my shot but my dad and my high school coach worked on my form. I've gotten it higher and feel more confident when I shoot it now. I used to shoot it from the middle of my chest but not I'm shooting from the top of my head. It's good to have that, especially going into the summer."
Armed with a jumper, confidence and the reality of his final go round on the AAU circuit, McMillan is paying attention to the schools on his recruiting list.
McMillan told Rivals.com in March that he was ready to commit to Herb Sendek and play at NC State like his father did. Less than a month later, Sendek left the ACC and moved closer to McMillan, settling in the Pac-10 at Arizona State. Sendek carried over the scholarship offer with him for the four-star guard.
But what about the Wolfpack? New head coach Sidney Lowe knows the family well. McMillan said NC State is an option dependent on Lowe's interest in him.
"I still have an offer from NC State. Obviously, their new coach played with my dad there and he's been an assistant coach with Detroit (Pistons) so you know he knows what it takes to win," McMillan said.
"I'll definitely consider them. I love the school but I don't want to be recruited complementary. I want the coach to recruit me because he wants to not because the alumni press him to. I may not be what a coach is looking for. Each coach has his own system and it is a matter of finding people that fit that particular system. If so, then great. NC State is a great school. It all depends on the coach."
Outside of NC State, Arizona State, Clemson and Georgia Tech have offered, while Illinois and Virginia are also recruiting him. McMillan said there are plenty of things that he will be looking for in his future home.
"The conference will matter. I'm mainly looking at the main ones," he said. "The city or state doesn't matter. I live in the city now but my summer home is in Raleigh and it's pretty slow. Coaching style is going to be huge and the roster, as far as who is going to be playing there, is big. I want to see if they are fast or slow. Campus is important and definitely an education. That's the biggest one. There is more to life than basketball."
McMillan said he appreciates his father's approach to the recruiting process.
"He's pretty much stayed out of it. He's made a habit of not being in the scene and staying out of our practices and things like that," McMillan said. "He is leaving the decision up to me and how I'm feeling about it. It's on me. I'm the one that has to play the game."
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