The last time Blake Wilkinson and Corbin Miller were on a court together, it was on the biggest stage two high school players could be: The 5A state tournament, Dee Events Center, overtime.
On Feb. 28, Wilkinson scored 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead his Viewmont team back from a 19-point deficit against Miller's Brighton Bengals. But Wilkinson's jumper in the lane as time expired rimmed out and Miller scored five of his 28 points in overtime to propel Brighton to a 63-61 win.
It was one of the best games of the season.
Now, Wilkinson is a freshman forward for the Utah men's basketball team, an unexpected starter, a walk-on and a lifelong Ute living out a fantasy. Miller is at Harvard, Utah's first-round opponent today at the Battle 4 Atlantis in Paradise Island, Bahamas. He's a freshman point guard, who turned down an offer from Utah in favor of the Ivy League.
Wilkinson played AAU for Utah Pump-N-Run, while Miller played for Salt Lake Metro.
"You always just kind of have run-ins with each other," Wilkinson said.
Their next one will be at 7:30 p.m. MT tonight on HDNet.
Miller will go on an LDS Church mission after his freshman year, but is not redshirting this year. Meaning, it's likely that Wilkinson and Miller will find themselves on the floor at the same time.
"I just think it will be fun to come back and play a team from home," Miller said this week. "Obviously it will be in the Bahamas, that makes it a lot of fun as well."
Miller made his mark in high school as a sharpshooter who took a huge percentage of Brighton's shots, and wasn't afraid to pull up from inside the half-court line and shoot over defenses.
His role has been somewhat different with the Crimson, although he has made a three. It came against MIT on Nov. 11, and through three games it has been his only basket.
"I've gotten a couple minutes the past few games," Miller said, "coming in and helping run the point, helping out [junior starting point guard] Brandyn Curry when he needs some rest."
Utah-Harvard will be the night cap in the first round of the eight-team tournament. Here's the rest of the day's schedule:
Noon • Central Florida vs. College of Charleston, Versus
2:30 p.m. • Florida State vs. UMass, Versus
5 p.m. • Connecticut vs. UNC-Asheville, HDNet
Utah will play either Florida State or UMass on Friday.
- Bill Oram