NBA DRAFT DIARY | SJU’s Isaiah Miles learned from mom that he was combine-bound

St. Joseph’s forward Isaiah Miles and teammate DeAndre’ Bembry were both invited to the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago on Thursday and Friday. In April, Miles played in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, where he earned all-tournament honors. He spoke with ASN’s Monica McNutt:

My parents were the first people to tell me I got invited to the combine. Michael Siegel, my agent, told my mom and my parents called me on FaceTime jumping up and down screaming.

I wasn’t really sure what was going on and my mom said, “You’re going to the combine.” My first reaction was my mom is new to Facebook so she probably is going off of something she saw on there. I still wasn’t really sure what was going on. I’m thinking She doesn’t really know what she’s talking about so I asked her if she was sure, and she said, “Yeah, talk to Siegel.”

Right after I got off the phone with them I called my agent. “Yo, Siegel, you sure?” He said yeah and told me to check my email. I checked my email while I was still on the phone with him and there it was saying I was invited.

I’ve been doing the same things I was doing to get ready for Portsmouth — working out with my trainer Robert Sullivan, who has worked out with multiple guys overseas and Jameer Nelson.  I’ve been working with him and our strength coach, Brian Bingaman. I’m usually up between 9 and 10 and I’ll have a nice breakfast. I start my workout at 12 usually, shooting and skills for about an hour and 15 minutes.  Then I’ll go to Brian for agility training and strength training or even stretching one day, that’s about an hour, hour and a half. I usually get in the ice bath for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then I’ll take my afternoon off and around six or seven, I come in and get shots up on the gun.  I decided to stay with Sully because he’s been on the bench with me throughout the season so he knows my game and what I’m good at rather than going to a brand new trainer where it takes time for him to get to know my game. Plus, staying on campus gave me easy access to the gym, It’s right down the street, walking distance.

I hit the ground working out nonstop, right after the season. I found out I got invited to the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament so I started getting ready for that. I really didn’t want a week off; I felt like that would be too long. I’ve got to keep myself busy doing something. It was definitely an honor being in that selection of really good players at PIT and it was a really good group of guys. We all had our different stories, some guys came from bigger schools than others, some had different experiences, and it was cool to share stories.  I felt pretty good. You had dudes from Michigan State there, but then you’ve got a guy from Saint Joseph’s and I can join the NCAA Tournament talk. I get to say we made it to the second round, we battled against Oregon, it was good with what we achieved, I got to brag about it a little bit.

The toughest part now as I prepare for the combine and draft is not being around your friends and family as much as you would like to be; it’s a sacrifice. You go around campus and you see everyone packing up to go home for the summer, it’s a sacrifice but it’s about the rest of my life and I know all of my friends and family are always going to be there to support me. There are unknowns but I’m taking it one step at a time. I think if I think too much about the unknown I’ll get out of my rhythm.  If someone says, “Hey you might get picked second round,” I don’t really want to hear that because I feel like my mindset might change. I just want to stay hungry and be known as the guy who really isn’t getting any looks which pushes me to work harder.

At the combine I want to show teams that I’m a very hard worker and show off my shooting ability. I think I’m one of the guys coming into the combine that’s a really good shooter and that allows me to stand out a little bit more being a stretch four. I want teams to understand that I’m a really hard worker; I really want to get put on a roster.  I haven’t seen DeAndre’ (Bembry) since the season ended, so I’m excited to see him. I hope we both represent for Saint Joseph’s.

Growing up my favorite NBA team was the Lakers. This makes no sense because he plays nowhere near my position but Shaq was my favorite player growing up. It’d be fair to say the Lakers would be my dream destination based on my childhood but honestly I would just be blessed and grateful for the opportunity to have any program calling me and having me on their roster. I don’t want to be picky and say “I don’t want to go here because it’s too cold” or something like that. No, I just want to be grateful for the opportunity, but if LA was that call I would be ecstatic.

Through all of this my parents, Tammy and Eric Miles, are the ones that keep me level headed. They never forget to remind me how proud they are of me, and as a son that keeps me going because I want to make my parents proud.  I try to live in the moment, stay blessed and stay humble, be grateful for the opportunity. My mom said as fast as it can come, just like this season how it came out of nowhere for me, is as fast as it can go. It can go away in a snap of a finger. So just live in the moment and stay humble, always look back at where you came from, and be grateful for the opportunity. Always thank God, and put God first, because without him none of this would be possible.

I’m the key example of hard work paying off and I hope my legacy at St. Joe’s includes that. To the younger guys below me, I hope my journey shows always keep your head up and stay confident because good things will come through hard work. I just want to represent, me and DeAndre’ go to the combine and represent St. Joseph’s the way it should be, a great organization, a great school, and a great basketball program that had an outstanding season.

NBA Draft Combine invitees

Ron Baker Wichita State
Wade Baldwin Vanderbilt
Cat Barber North Carolina State
Malik Beasley Florida State
DeAndre’ Bembry Saint Joseph’s
Ben Bentil Providence
Jaron Blossomgame Clemson
Joel Bolomboy Weber State
Malcolm Brogdon Virginia
Jaylen Brown California
Robert Carter Maryland
Marquese Chriss Washington
Elgin Cook Oregon
Isaiah Cousins Oklahoma
Deyonta Davis Michigan State
Cheick Diallo Kansas
Kris Dunn Providence
Henry Ellenson Marquette
Perry Ellis Kansas
AJ English Iona
Kay Felder Oakland
Dorian Finney-Smith Florida
Michael Gbinije Syracuse
Daniel Hamilton Connecticut
AJ Hammons Purdue
Josh Hart Villanova
Nigel Hayes Wisconsin
Buddy Hield Oklahoma
Brandon Ingram Duke
Demetrius Jackson Notre Dame
Justin Jackson North Carolina
Brice Johnson North Carolina
Damian Jones Vanderbilt
Skal Labissiere Kentucky
Dedric Lawson Memphis
Jake Layman Maryland
Marcus Lee Kentucky
Caris LeVert Michigan
Thon Maker Orangeville Prep/Athlete Institute
Patrick McCaw UNLV
Isaiah Miles Saint Joseph’s
Jamal Murray Kentucky
Malik Newman Mississippi State
Georges Niang Iowa State
Chinanu Onuaku Louisville
Marcus Paige North Carolina
Gary Payton II Oregon State
Jakob Poeltl Utah
Taurean Prince Baylor
Zhou Qi Xinjiang (China)
Malachi Richardson Syracuse
Wayne Selden Kansas
Pascal Siakam New Mexico State
Diamond Stone Maryland
Caleb Swanigan Purdue
Melo Trimble Maryland
Tyler Ulis Kentucky
Jarrod Uthoff Iowa
Denzel Valentine Michigan State
Isaiah Whitehead Seton Hall
Troy Williams Indiana
Kyle Wiltjer Gonzaga
Stephen Zimmerman UNLV

Photo courtesy Saint Joseph’s Athletics

Monica McNutt

Monica McNutt is an anchor/reporter for American Sports Network