Springfield basketball great Nate Miller dies at 34

Former South High School standout Nate Miller passes during a practice with Ohio State alumni at Value City Arena in Columbus. Miller and the alumni team are participating in The Basketball Tournament. Contributed Photo by Bryant Billing

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Former South High School standout Nate Miller passes during a practice with Ohio State alumni at Value City Arena in Columbus. Miller and the alumni team are participating in The Basketball Tournament. Contributed Photo by Bryant Billing

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield community reacted in shock Saturday to the death of Nate Miller, 34, a 2005 South High School graduate who played college basketball at Bowling Green and remained active in his hometown, coaching middle school basketball and baseball.

“I can’t believe this,” another South great, Dee Miller, wrote on Facebook. “My heart is broken.”

“Rest In Peace, Nate Miller,” Springfield graduate Karlos Marshall wrote on Twitter. “His name was synonymous with a culture of winning at Springfield South. Nate was just coming into his own by pouring into the youth upon his return from an extensive international basketball career. We lost a true icon. This one hurts!”

The Clark County Coroner’s Officer confirmed that Miller died early Saturday. A cause of death was not immediately available.

As a senior at South, Miller shared the the 2004-05 Springfield News-Sun Clark County Player of the Year award with Southeastern’s Matt Poole. Miller averaged 19.7 points and an area-best 12.7 rebounds. He scored 1,300 points in his high school career.

With Miller and six other seniors on the roster in 2005, the Wildcats went 19-1 in the regular season and rose to a No. 2 rating in the Associated Press Division I state poll, the highest rating since the 1983-84 season.

“The mark of the good player is the one who can make the kids around him better. I think he does that,” South coach Larry Ham said in 2005. “He draws a lot of attention. When you draw the type of attention that he draws, that allows the other players around him to get off.”

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Nate Miller, a Springfield South graduate and professional basketball player, talks to young players about defense during a Springfield Youth Basketball Camp at Springfield High School. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Nate Miller, a Springfield South graduate and professional basketball player, talks to young players about defense during a Springfield Youth Basketball Camp at Springfield High School. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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Nate Miller, a Springfield South graduate and professional basketball player, talks to young players about defense during a Springfield Youth Basketball Camp at Springfield High School. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

In 2008, Springfield News-Sun readers voted Miller the fourth-best athlete in school history. He also made the Division I All-Ohio first team as a wide receiver in football as a senior in 2004. He had three interceptions and scored 15 touchdowns on offense.

Miller continued to cheer for Springfield High School after North and South combined into one school. Asked about the football team’s run to the state championship game last fall and the possibility of the Wildcats winning the state championship, he said, “It would mean the world to me! I have bled blue and gold my whole life! We have knocked on the door several times, and this team has topped them all. I am so proud of these boys; they and the brotherhood and what it means to be a Wildcat! Let’s seal the deal!”

Miller started his college career at UNC-Wilmington and played one season there before transferring to Bowling Green. In three seasons with the Falcons (2006-09), he scored 1,151 points. He was named to the All-Mid-American Conference first team as a senior.

Miller played professional basketball in Spain, Israel, Mexico, Argentina and most recently in South Korea in the 2018-19 season. He remained active as a coach in the area and ran an organization, MillerzElite Basketball.

On the MillerzElite Facebook page last week, Miller encouraged kids to sign up for his summer program.

“Filled with education, sports, games, breakfast and lunch and most of all transportation to and from!!!” Miller wrote. “Get wit me and get your kid signed up!!!”

In 2013, Miller held the five-day Nate Miller III Dreams camp for kids in Springfield.

“The reason for me putting on this camp is very simple,” Miller said. “I have a 3D model that I live my life by: discipline, determination and dedication. These are the main things that you need to reach your dreams. Dream big! I feel that if the youth are instilled with this model at a young age, whatever they want to do, whether it’s in sports, academics, music, or anything else, they can do it.”

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South High School's Nate Miller goes for a slam dunk during practice in December 2004. FILE / TEESHA MCCLAM

South High School's Nate Miller goes for a slam dunk during practice in December 2004. FILE / TEESHA MCCLAM

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South High School's Nate Miller goes for a slam dunk during practice in December 2004. FILE / TEESHA MCCLAM

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