Jeannette's Sunder a motivator for Jayhawks

| Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Miles Sunder, a senior on the Jeannette High School basketball team plays the position of small forward and hopes to continue to play this sport after graduation this spring.

Sunder, who was named a Student Athlete of the Week for his work on the football field this fall, has been playing basketball nearly his entire life.

“(I've played) since I was able to walk, basically,” said Sunder. “Being around my brother (Shaw Sunder), he would go out and shoot and I would go out and play with him.”

He has enjoyed the game ever since. He most enjoys being able to spend so much time with his friends and coaches.

“I like being part of another team at Jeannette,” he said.

This is his last season as a Jayhawk teammate and it's given him a different attitude and a different feeling as he knows his days as a high school athlete are coming to a close.

“It's made me think a lot more about stepping it up,” he said. “It's my last shot at playing high school sports. It changed my whole mind, to become real determined.”

That determination is probably what has led his coaches to recognize him for his hard work in back-to-back seasons.

“It's how I work at practice and that I never miss practice. That's real important to me not to miss practice because it shows the younger kids I'm taking it (seriously). I will be at every practice to be a good leader.”

Being a leader is incredibly important to Sunder, who talks about his desire to be a good influence on the younger athletes in Jeannette while he's still a student here.

“It's my senior year and I want to help the younger kids and be that kind of player. It's important to be a leader, to show everybody that you're really taking time out and focusing on what you have to do,” said Sunder.

His role on the team, as he sees it, is to be the motivator — if someone is down he wants to be the one who is there “to pick them back up and say, ‘we can do this.'”

In his position as small forward, Sunder likes that he has the opportunity to handle the ball and “be around the perimeter and be the big man.”

This season, the few games the team has played thus far, has been doing well in Sunder's eyes.

“We're really helping each other out and being more of a team with each other. This group of guys is really hard working, really dedicated,” he said. “The rest of the seniors, it's their last sport, too. We're really dedicated and realizing it's our last sport.”

The team goal, as it always is, will be to win the section and make it to the Palumbo Center for the championship game.

“I think we have a really good chance of winning out because it feels like we're a closer family,” he said. “It's been the same group of guys coming together and realizing it's our time.”

After graduation, Sunder would like to attend college and play basketball. He's unsure of a destination so far, but he's considering sociology as a major. He would like to enter a career in which he can help people.

Sunder is the son of Jewel Burns and Sam Sunder. In addition to his older brother, Shaw, he has an older sister, Chardae Dawson.

“Thank you to my family and my coaches for always believing and having faith in me and never giving up on me,” said Sunder.

Kristie Linden is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 724-838-5154.

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