student athlete of the week
Miles Sunder, a junior at Jeannette High School, is a small forward for the Jayhawks basketball team.
“My role is to help out offensively and defensively,” said Sunder. “I try to be the best I can be for the team and help out in any way coach asks me to.”
Sunder also plays football for Jeannette, but said the hardwood is his preference. He has been playing the sport for as long as he can remember. He was 3 or 4 years old when he started playing basketball. Football is something he didn't get a start in until he entered high school.
Both of his parents —Jewel Burns and Samuel Sunder — are basketball players. His older brother, Shaw Sunder, also played basketball.
In fact, he grew up with not one but two basketball hoops outside of his house and spent many summer days shooting hoops with his family members.
“I enjoy just playing with my teammates, having fun together,” he said. “(I like) the thrill of it.”
Sunder said head Coach Adrian Batts is someone who is helpful to all of the team members off the court.
“He'll help you with anything and he's even a better coach. He knows how to connect with all of his players and how to coach us to win.”This year's Jayhawks basketball team headed into this weekend's state PIAA playoffs with something to prove. They lost their chance at a WPIAL title in the quarterfinal round and Sunder said this team sort of has vengeance on their minds.
“This team is a bunch of good kids just trying to win. To make it as far as we can and do anything we can to win. To do anything to go to the state championship game.
“We're so excited to get back into it. We feel ready for the next step and feel like there should be some payback (for losing in the WPIAL).”
After high school, Sunder hopes to attend college to play basketball. He hasn't settled on a major just yet, but he's leaning toward a field that uses mathematics.
Sunder is considering careers in banking or accounting. He may become a stockbroker.
He will probably play AAU basketball games this spring. Sunder said from time to time Batts will ask him to play in tournaments with the team he coaches in the AAU.
“I enjoy traveling and playing in tournaments.”
While Sunder's initial goal on the basketball court this year was to win the WPIAL championship, he'll recycle that goal to next year, his goal for the rest of the year is to finish strong and try to make it to the state finals.
Sunder would like to thank his family “for always being there for me and never giving up on my dreams.” And he'd like to thank his friends “for always being there in the rough times and being there for me.”
Kristie Linden is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-838-5154.