Canadian guard Leonard Miller has had the opportunity to play for different successful programs over his high school years, including Wasatch Academy (UT) and Thornlea S.S. (CAN) in the past. Now in his post-grad year suiting up at Fort Erie International Academy (CAN), the 6’11 prospect’s early season productivity and ability to get buckets from anywhere on the floor has caught the eyes of many college programs, resulting in scholarship offers from TCU, Washington State, Georgia, Kansas, Pittsburgh, and Alabama.
Miller previously represented the Canadian Men’s Junior National Team at the 2019 FIBA U16 Americas Championship and helped the team win a silver medal. Having spent countless hours in the gym, the southpaw has developed a versatile game with the ability to rebound and push in transition, create for others, and shoot from the perimeter.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Miller talked about the players he enjoys studying, his experience at Fort Erie, his favorite music artists including Canada’s own Drake, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2022 prospect Leonard Miller, from Scarborough, Ontario, Canada:
Pro Insight: Talk a bit about your background.
Leonard Miller: I was born in Scarborough Ontario, located in Toronto, Canada, and I've sort of moved around for a couple of years from school to school throughout my elementary, middle school, and high school years so I’ve experienced a lot of different environments. My family’s pretty big and relatively close. We keep in touch with one another.
PI: Your brother Emanuel Miller plays at TCU. Do you guys talk often?
LM: Yeah, we talk! I talk to him all the time about how he’s doing in college, about life, his game and just things I can take and learn from him. He's playing at a whole other level that I'm trying to achieve. In terms of hooping together, it doesn’t get to happen often but when I was in Texas this past summer visiting him, we got the chance to put in some work in the gym. I take a lot of stuff from him. He’s a great basketball player and it clearly shows the work he puts in, on and off the court. He’s definitely someone I look up to.
PI: How did you get into basketball?
LM: My older brothers played basketball growing up, so as the youngest everything revolved around it. I loved watching them play and watching it on TV, so naturally I got into it and loved it too. My favorite thing about it was to shoot. I always loved shooting growing up, even without the ball. Sometimes when I'm walking around the halls in school or just at home, I'd use my imagination to pretend like I have a ball in my hand. I'd be working on my form shooting in the mirror or practice dribbling without the ball, doing an in-and-out or a spin move around my peers. It just became a no-brainer for me to start playing.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
LM: I played a lot of sports. I participated in everything besides swimming, mainly because I can't swim. I actually loved volleyball. Besides basketball, I was on a volleyball team and also on a golf team. When I was at [Wasatch Academy] in Utah, I got the opportunity to join the golf team and I was quite successful. It was fun, and I enjoyed going out golfing with my friends. I’d say I’m a decent golfer now.
PI: Did you watch any professional golf?
LM: Yeah Tiger, I always knew about Tiger Woods. Most definitely.
PI: What are your current measurements?
LM: So I'm roughly 6’11” and I got a wingspan of about 7’2”. My shoe size is 15.
PI: For those that aren’t familiar with your game, what are your greatest strengths?
LM: I feel like I'm a high-level passer. I got great vision. I love to get my teammates involved. I'll finish with both hands, I’m actually ambidextrous. I shoot off the dribble pretty well. My go-to shot is the step-back. I work on that a lot. I watch film over and over to see how I can better perfect it in games. Making shots makes me feel proud because that's what I love to do. I'm very energetic and I love to win. Any way I could get fired up on the court, I sort of feed off that.
PI: What do you feel you still need to improve on the most? What have you been working on?
LM: Finding a man and boxing out is what I definitely need to improve on. Sometimes I seem to forget to do that because I’ll cheat and use my length to get rebounds. I know once I grasp that aspect, I’ll be a more dominant force. Right now, I’m working on raising my shot pocket. Trying to shoot higher than I normally do. My coach and I are in the gym at least two to three times every day getting shots up. By being even more consistent with my training and practicing to shoot at the level of where I need to be, I know my game will improve, overall.
PI: Do you have a training regimen?
LM: My coach is basically my trainer right now. We’re in the gym normally in the mornings and after school besides practice, but I go whenever I can. Sometimes after a hard practice my body will feel sore so I might miss a morning but for sure after school I’m in the gym with my coaches a lot. We do a hell of a lot of stuff and I’m always trying to work very hard in practice. My coaches do a good job pushing me to my limits. When I'm back home in Scarborough, I got my brother with me. He works me out, shows me things I need to improve on and then I go work on it. I also have a trainer out there, who is my personal trainer. All of these people are a part of my training regimen and I’m glad to have them in my life.
PI: Who do you model your game after and try to study on film?
LM: There’s a few people in the NBA that I’d say I idolize, so there’s Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, James Harden, D’Angelo Russell and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. As I said, I love shooting so I watch a lot of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. To me, I feel like the splash brothers are the most effective and two of the greatest shooters of all time so I try to mimic some of their shot techniques. Even though I’m ambidextrous, I’m naturally a lefty so I also watch a lot of James Harden. He does my favorite shot a lot which is the step-back, so he’s definitely someone I study on film and try to dissect what he does. D’Angelo Russell is another lefty that I’ve always been drawn to. He has a certain swagger to his game that I like. A fellow Canadian person that I like to watch and I feel is a very smooth player and just does what he does at a high level is Shai [Gilgeous-Alexander]. He’s a heck of a player and I like all the smooth stuff that he does similar to D Lo. I sort of model my game after them.
PI: How has your experience at Fort Erie been so far?
LM: It's been good. I work hard there and to be able to see my work paying off and being as good as I've ever wanted to be right now is great. I didn't know it would be such a crazy start to the year but I’m rolling with it. With Fort Erie as a whole, the people and the environment that I’m surrounded by are amazing. From the teachers, the principal, my peers that attend the school, they're all great people. Everyone’s always showing our team love, and they just hold a lot of love in the air as an entirety. Fort Erie is an amazing place. It has all the tools I need to become a better athlete and person. Sometimes in life we tend to not take advantage of all the resources that we’re blessed with, and we need to. We always got to remember everything that we have is a blessing, and for me Fort Erie was one of mine.
PI: What are your short-term goals you have for yourself as a player?
LM: My short-term goals include winning OSBA of course, which is the league we play in Canada. Winning OSBA would be amazing. It's not as amazing as a Grind Session that we play in, but it is still an amazing thing to accomplish. We’re a first-year team in the OSBA so if we were to win, that would be quite the accomplishment for our school. We’re trying to build a platform here at Fort Erie, for future student-athletes. As a team, we’re far from where we need to be, but we’re working every day in the gym to try to get to another level. Our team goal is to have a great record and win our last game. If we accomplish all of that then that would be a heck of a year. Another short-term goal of mine is to improve my base. I want to get stronger and get my weight up. You know, like bulk up and keep crushing the protein. If I add all of that to my game, I'll be even far past where I am right now.
PI: What are your biggest interests outside of basketball?
LM: My biggest interests include playing video games. I love to play video games and board games. I also love spending time with my family and friends. Conversing with new people and building bonds with my teammates off the court is something special.
PI: What are your go-to video games?
LM: I play a bunch of stuff. I play a lot of shooting games. I like Warzone and Apex. I also play a fun game that's out there too called Fall Guys. I play a little bit of 2K, but not too much. Sometimes I’ll play it with my coach. We get at it.
PI: Who are your favorite music artists?
LM: I love Drake, easily. Drake’s from Canada. Listening to him is a no brainer and he's got great quality music. I feel like he's up there with the goats, one of the best to do it. Coming in at number-two, I love Lil Uzi Vert. The vibe that he gives off is everything and the quality of his music is unmatched. I like Gunna and Jhene Aiko. I also love Polo G and Lil Baby, too. Polo G and Lil Baby are my two runner-ups.
PI: If you were stuck forever on a deserted island and had all the food, water, and shelter you needed — what three personal items would you bring?
LM: Three personal items…I would bring my mom with me. My two other brothers can be the last items. I need to have my family. I have everything I need on that deserted island, but company. I need people to talk to and keep me sane, so I’d bring my mom, for sure. I actually have five brothers and one sister. It doesn’t matter which two come but definitely my brothers as my last two items.
PI: You have one hashtag to describe yourself. What is it?
LM: I'd say it’s #him. I’m him. Him is my hashtag. I'm the Leonard Miller.
PI: What’s your recruitment update? Who are you hearing from the most lately?
LM: I’m hearing a lot from TCU. TCU is showing me a lot of love. My brother goes there. They’re trying to get me on board with what they have going on and get the Millers to take over. I’ve heard from Georgia, a little bit from Washington State and Wake Forest. Those are just some of them. There’s a couple more and I have a bunch of interests, but so far those are who I can think of off the top of my head right now. (editor’s note: Miller has since picked up an offer from Kansas)
PI: What’s an interesting anecdote or funny story you feel is unique or special to your recruitment, specifically?
LM: Yeah my phone has been blowing up. I’ve actually been shown way more love than I was shown before and I'd say that's probably the funniest part to me. I feel like me as a player, I've always been talented. For everything to start picking up now, I feel like that's a bit funny. Of course my game has been taken to another level, but I have always been the type of player I believed myself to be. I think it’s a little funny that everyone’s starting to really see that now but it comes with the game. You’ve got to wake people up and make them see what they haven’t seen before.
PI: What will ultimately be your deciding factors when making your choice?
LM: Well I have to be on board with the whole coaching staff. I have to have a great relationship with everybody, not just one or two people. From the head coach to the assistant coach, everybody on the staff. I believe in a team that shares good connections and builds strong bonds. Honestly is also a deciding factor. I don't like anything that's not believable or any of that fake talk. I need coaches that will be truthful with me and tell me the real. Most importantly though the school has to be a great fit for me. One of the best schools could be a great fit for someone else, but not for me.
PI: How would you define the word ‘success?’
LM: I feel like success means accomplishments and goals that you've set out to achieve and reached. Whether the goals were written down, in your head, or prayed upon, everyone’s successes are different. For example my success could be winning the OSBA title, and if I do, then I'd say I'm being successful and on the right path towards more successes. If you have a goal in mind and you achieve it, I'd say that’s success.
PI: Who’s someone you really look up to?
LM: I look up to my mom. She works so hard. I look up to all of my brothers, too, although some of them have to look up to me now physically. All my brothers have something that I could learn from so I definitely look up to them. In terms of basketball, I look up to Kobe. Kobe is an exceptional player that I love. Rest in peace to him.
PI: Name four words that best describe you.
LM: Funny, Family, Nice, Compassionate. I’d say I'm very funny. People think I'm funny in my circle and I guess that's a good thing. I try not to be too funny because that could take away from who I am and people could sort of misinterpret your sense of humor. My family is everything to me so I’d say I’m family-oriented. I’m also a pretty nice person and very compassionate.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
LM: I hope to be remembered for the type of person I am. Like I said, I think I'm believed to be a nice and funny person. I think being nice and funny are two attributes that people definitely remember me by, but everything else in terms of character traits, I want to be remembered by being there for others, and just being an outstanding person. On the court, if I get to where I need to be, I hope to be remembered as an exceptional player, someone considered as one of the best in the game because that's exactly what I'm striving for.