Woodland Hills boys basketball team must mature fast
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Odell Miller took over the as the boys basketball coach at Woodland Hills last season looking to bring stability to a program that has had three coaches over the past six years.
While last season was not what he and the Wolverines were hoping for with a 4-17 (0-14 in WPIAL section 2-AAAA) record in his inaugural campaign, Miller believes his team has built a solid foundation.
“My kids last year played hard, but I attribute last year to the fact that this program had about, I don't know what it is, five or six coaches in the last 12 years,” Miller said. “You had a situation like that, you don't have any consistency, and that's what I attribute that to.
“We probably could have won some more games, but the fact that I was the new guy trying to get some consistency and build some discipline within the program, that's where it's all going to start with us is getting some discipline and doing things the right way.”
Miller, a former Woodland Hills assistant football coach, enters this season with a young roster who has bought into what he is trying to instill. With three freshmen on the varsity roster and 11 total sophomores on the junior varsity and varsity rosters combined, there is no shortage of youth.
“We're going to be a very young squad, and I'm pretty high on some of my young kids,” Miller said. “I have some young kids I think are going to be OK after a couple years. They'll play some JV minutes and get some varsity experience.
“The kids are real committed ,and they have talent. I'm looking forward to the future, and I'm real excited about things because my kids are excited,” he said. “They come to practice. They work hard.”
Despite its opening game being this Friday in the Pine-Richland Tournament, two of Woodland Hills' projected starters barely have even started practicing with the team after playing on the Wolverines football team that advanced to the WPIAL championship.
Sophomore small forward Jo-El Shaw and senior point guard Chris David, who returns after missing last season with a torn ACL, will provide the Wolverines with a boost in the starting lineup after transitioning over from the gridiron.
They will join freshman shooting guard Deontae Robertson, senior power forward Ramir Childs and 6-foot-5 senior center Brian Baker in the starting five.
Miller cited that he will count on the senior Childs to be a team leader, along with another unlikely source.
“I'm looking for the leadership to come from Ramir Childs, and believe it or not, my young freshman Deontae is probably going to have to step up at a young age,” Miller said. “I'm looking for those two to really lead us.”
While just a freshman, Miller believes Robertson has the tools to be a special player before his four years there are over.
“He has a lot of talent, and I think before it's all said and done people are going to realize he's a good player,” Miller said. “It won't be this year, but I think by his junior year, people are going to remember the name Deontae Robertson.”
While Miller knows that a WPIAL title is not won overnight, he has set basic expectations for his team this season to simply improve each time it takes the floor.
“Just to get better with each game,” Miller said. “Prepare for each game and go out, play hard, and hopefully things will work out.”
Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Injuries won’t dash South Fayette girls basketball’s hopes
- Sewickley Academy boys basketball off to fast start
- Harris develops into team leader for Gateway boys
- Stinelli developing into scoring threat for Penn-Trafford boys hoops
- Chartiers Valley boys basketball competes, bonds in Arizona
- High school roundup: OLSH uses big 2nd half to surge past Quaker Valley
- McKeesport boys remain unbeaten in section after win over Fox Chapel
- Family atmosphere featured in Baldwin boys basketball program
- Fox Chapel’s Urso adjusts quickly between football, basketball
- Junior forward Beale scores 30 points as Freeport wins 4th straight
- Plum boys win section opener, girls fall to Fox Chapel