Kanawha Valley basketball is ingrained in the DNA of Josh “Cookie” Miller, and vice versa.
The 2005 West Virginia Boys Basketball Player of the Year at Capital High, Miller spent two years at Nebraska before transferring home to West Virginia State. As a Yellow Jacket, he helped the team to a No. 12 national ranking in 2009-10. After his college career concluded and while he played overseas, he created the Second Avenue Summer League on Charleston’s West Side.
Now, Miller comes back to State once again, this time as a coach.
Miller has joined WVSU head coach Bryan Poore’s staff as an assistant, and said Friday that while he was preparing for another run in Europe, the offer from Poore came at a great time.
“Coach Poore presented me with this opportunity and this was a perfect fit,” Miller said. “I was getting in shape trying to make this next run. I talked to my dad about it and took some time to pray and it’s a perfect fit. The timing is right.”
After winning the Evans Award, Miller became a Cornhusker and became the second player in team history to record 100 assists in his freshman and sophomore seasons, the first being former NBA player and current Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue. He transferred to WVSU and in his first season there, averaged 19.7 points and 5.1 assists in helping the Yellow Jackets win the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament crown.
“I am thrilled to have Cookie Miller join our staff,” said Poore. “His career here as a player speaks for itself and it makes him a great person for this job. He put two years of dedication into the program and so his investment level from the start is higher than the average person.”
Miller said he loves the opportunity to continue making a difference with area youth through basketball. He wants to keep showing youngsters that good things can happen through hard work. And he feels his experiences at State will help him work with the current roster.
“It’s a difference when you went through the grind and the struggles and then were successful,” Miller said. “Coming home, it’s a different type of energy and demeanor. I don’t know if an outsider would bring that same type of energy.”
Miller said he’ll have to check with NCAA guidelines in terms of his future relationship with the Second Avenue Summer League, but said that, even if he has to step away, he’ll leave that program in good hands.