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SHELBYVILLE — Malcolm Miller is the all-time leading scorer in Shelbyville history. He scored in double figures in his last 59 games and in 103 of 112 games for his career, finishing with 2,397 points.

This season, Miller — a 6-foot-4 senior guard — led his team in every statistical category, averaging 27.4 points, 11.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. There was no weakness in his game. He shot 53 percent from the field, nailed a team-leading 72 3-pointers at a 39 percent clip, and also got to the free-throw line and converted more than anyone else on the team (116-of-152), shooting 76 percent.

All those numbers make him the Herald & Review Area Player of the Year, and one of the best to ever play in the area.

But stats aren't what define Miller.

"Malcolm Miller is a better kid than he is a basketball player," Shelbyville boys basketball coach Bob Herdes said. 

Shelbyville finished 24-5 overall. It was the Rams' best season since winning the Class A (two-class system) title in 1995-96, going 34-1. 

Miller was a major part of that success. He was outstanding as a junior, averaging 24.7 points and 9.1 rebounds, but he became more efficient as a senior, and took more ownership of the team.

"He improved in everything," Herdes said. "The basic things he improved on were his strength, quickness and his leadership ability. He was more of a vocal leader, which is not his nature, but he realized he needed to do it. He was very willing to pass. If he was double-teamed, he would pass. I know he would give up some of his personal stuff to win more games."

Miller attributed the fact that he improved to working out more. He said he lifted weights three times a week with former Vandalia star Eric Hobbie of The Zone Fitness Center in Shelbyville as his trainer. 

Herdes said of his defense, "His lateral movement and quickness improved. He has good shot blocking ability. All of that comes from his conditioning."

Miller has played AAU since he was in the sixth grade and last year played for the St. Louis Jets, based in Belleville.

"I didn't have a lot of motivation to do it when I was in the sixth grade," Miller said. "My dad told me to go and do it, and I fell in love with basketball after that."

He played in about 50 games for the Jets last summer and took part in open gyms at Shelbyville as well. 

"The speed of the game is so much faster," Miller said. "It helped me so much."

Miller said the highlight of the season was the Vandalia Holiday Tournament championship, a 62-61 win over the host school. It was the first time the Rams had won the tournament since 1994. 

"That was one of the most fun games of the year," Miller said. "To do something that had not been done in over 20 years was amazing.

"Beating Decatur St. Teresa (55-49) again and Tuscola (62-55) were highlights also, and even though we lost to Central A&M (59-43), it was a fun atmosphere with the gym packed and standing room only. All of the time spent playing in open gyms paid off for all of us."

Miller was a unanimous first-team all-Central Illinois Conference player and was a third-team all-Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Class 2A All-State player and a first-team Associated Press Class 2A All-State player. He was also the MVP of the Vandalia Holiday Tournament.

But those accolades aren't what Miller will remember about the season.

"I had a fun year playing with all of the guys, and that is what was the most important to me," he said.

Miller was inspired to play basketball by the 2012-13 Shelbyville team coached by Shelbyville grad Mike Steers and including his cousin Nate Standerfer, along with Brody Bence, Tucker Schwengel, Darin Breeden and Jake Keown. 

"I watched them play and I thought that would be fun to (play in high school)," Miller. said. 

For his career, Miller averaged 21.6 points (tied for 20th all-time in the state, according to IHSA records), 8.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.8 steals and 0.9 blocked shots per game while shooting 46 percent from the field, including .336 from 3-point range and 74 percent from the free-throw line. He helped the Rams go 73-39 (.652) during his high school career. The 908 field goals he made (out of 1,971 shots) is sixth all-time.

Miller, the son of Jill and Clay Miller, plans to study business and sports marketing in and is hoping to play basketball. He has been invited to play in the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association All-Star game in June. 

"He meant everything to the program," Herdes said. "He is a perfect example of doing hard work and how it paid off."

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Contact Mike Monahan at (217) 238-6854. Follow him on Twitter: @monahanmikejgtc

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