Ask West Virginia guard Daxter Miles how many of the players he could name in the program’s 1,000-point club, and he wastes no time throwing out a handful of names.
First, of course, came teammate and fellow senior Jevon Carter, followed by other recent WVU stars like Devin Williams and Juwan Staten and all-time greats like Jerry West and Hot Rod Hundley. And now, after Wednesday’s win against Coppin State, Miles can add himself to that list.
“There was a small relief. I don’t really pay much attention to that stuff, but I found out a few games ago how many points I needed,” Miles said. “My teammates were just giving me the ball in good spots tonight and I just was excited that I was able to reach that and that we got the win.”
Miles’ 3-pointer early in the second half of the Mountaineers’ 77-38 rout of the Bald Eagles made him the 52nd player in school history to reach the milestone. After making the shot, he knew it was the bucket that put him over the top and made a quick point to briefly acknowledge it — pointing up toward the sky as he went back to getting in his position in WVU’s press.
He didn’t make much of it because, as far as he’s concerned, it doesn’t mean all that much.
Of course, he said, it’s an honor to be among those other names who have reached that mark in the past and to know that you’ll forever be thought of as one of the program’s leading scorers. But for Miles there have always been more important things than the number of points he puts up every night.
“I’m just glad we got the win. I just want to be thought of as a winner,” Miles said. “I don’t care if I score two points or 50 points, I just want to be known as a winner.”
That’s one of the ways Miles has changed a lot since he entered West Virginia out of high school.
Once a prep star who focused much of his energy on the different ways he could find his way into the scoring column, the Baltimore native has grown into a player who understands that there are several ways he can have a similar impact on the game.
Now as his career comes to a close, Miles has a chance to become one of the most firmly entrenched starters in program history. With at least 22 games left in West Virginia’s season — assuming he continues to start every game the rest of the season — Miles will at least finish No. 2 in program history in career starts behind Joe Herber.
“I’ve matured a lot on and off the court,” Miles said. “I remember back in high school and it’s nothing like this here in college. You can have one or two players in high school and dominate games. In college, you need a team. Everyone needs to do their role [to be successful].”
During these years at West Virginia, Miles has also grown into a leader. And like he and Carter were able to do when they were freshmen learning from players like Staten, they can now pass that guidance on to younger players on this year’s team like Teddy Allen.
As he has continued to leave his mark on the program in the years he’s in Morgantown, doing things like that — passing down the lessons he’s picked up over the course of the last four years — will help carry the success they have had recently over to future teams.
“If they didn’t have older players like Juwan when they were coming up they might not be the players they are now, and now getting to learn from players like Dax has been a great thing for me as I start my career here,” Allen said. “He’s helped me a lot along the way. Dax has always told me to just play my game, not worry about scoring or doing anything else like that, just play your game and do what you do.
“That’s been something he’s always done and it’s helped him a lot. That’s one of the things I’m trying to pick up and keep learning as I go, too.”