KANSAS CITY, Mo.–In West Virginia University’s regular season finale Daxter Miles Jr. tallied a season-best 23 points in the 87-76 win over Iowa State and the Mountaineers will require more performances like that if they anticipate making an extended post season run.
“When he’s active, he’s a lot better player,” senior guard Tarik Phillip said.
The junior is averaging 9.1 points and 2.2 rebounds per contest this season, which is just below his average of 9.4 points and 2.1 rebounds last season.
While Miles remains consistent with last year’s pace, WVU needs more from one of its veteran players.
The Baltimore, Maryland native has scored 20 plus points on four occasions this year but he has been virtually non-existent in several other games.
His teammates attribute part of that as a mental issue.
“He needs to move on to the next play,” Phillip said. “I think sometimes he dwells on things he messes up and we’re just trying to get him to play through stuff.”
Furthermore, when the going gets tough, you have to find other ways to contribute.
“There’s going to be nights where shots are going to fall and shots not going to fall,” junior point guard Jevon Carter said. “But you just got to find other ways and other things to do when shots don’t fall.”
Against the Cyclones, Miles made 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. He swished 5-of-6 from the charity stripe and he grabbed seven rebounds.
All it took to get Miles going was one big play.
“Once he gets a dunk, the whole thing changes,” Carter said. “Against Iowa State he got that tip dunk early and he didn’t look back from there.”
Once Miles got the crowd rocking, it fueled him.
“It just takes a little bit of effort,” Miles said.
Effort has been something that the 6-foot-3, 200-pound guard has lacked at times.
“Get him in the gym, which has been a stuggle but he’s been a lot more diligent about being in the gym and working his craft,” Mountaineers head coach Bob Huggins said.
Huggins is always adamant that his players need to get in the gym and it has paid off for junior point guard Jevon Carter.
However, Miles sometimes lacks the same exertion that Carter exuberates. But when the Dunbar High School alum puts in the time, he finds success on the court.
“I think he always knew it,” Huggins said. “It’s a game of repetition. When you don’t get your reps in, you’re not going to make shots. That’s anybody. That’s why the great players spend so much time in the gym.”
For Miles, he knows that Huggins’ toughness is an act of caring.
“It motivates me because it shows that he cares about me,” Miles said. “If he didn’t care about you he wouldn’t be saying anything to you.”
That incentive has helped stem his new attitude.
“I’m just doing whatever my team need me to do,” Miles said.
Cover Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS