DANVILLE, Ill. -- John Wood Community College men's basketball coach Brad Hoyt heard fans singing the same refrain throughout the NJCAA Division II national tournament.
"People were constantly coming up to me and saying, ‘Cory Miller's a really good player,'" Hoyt said.
He always politely agreed, although this wasn't news to him.
"They're finally seeing what we've seen and known for the last two years," Hoyt said.
Miller provided one last reason for fans to walk away impressed Saturday.
The 6-foot-3 sophomore guard did all he could to push the Trail Blazers to one final victory. In the fifth-place game against Milwaukee Area Tech, Miller scored 29 points, made 11 of 14 shots from the field and grabbed 14 rebounds in an 85-68 loss at Mary Miller Gym.
"What a way for that guy to go out," Hoyt said.
The loss didn't ruin that.
"I couldn't ask to go out with a better group of guys," said Miller, the Unity graduate who was the 2017 Herald-Whig Player of the Year. "We came in not expecting it to go this way, so that's kind of a shocker. At the end of the day, we stay together, and that's how we get through it. And we've done that."
Like they have all season, the Trail Blazers follow Miller's lead.
It's his attitude and character that trumps all else.
"I hope my sons, I hope other people when they watch him play don't look at the scoreboard to see how many points he has," Hoyt said. "Just look at how hard he plays and how resilient he is. Those are the things that tell you about his character and his family's character."
His statistics are pretty darned good, too.
Miller finished the five-day, double-elimination tournament as the leading scorer, averaging 25.8 points. He shot 50.8 percent from the field, 53.3 percent from 3-point range and 72.9 percent from the line, to go along with eight rebounds per game.
"He did a lot of things well," Hoyt said. "It's easy to see why people noticed him."
College coaches have, too. A number of Great Lakes Valley Conference schools, with Quincy University high on that list, have expressed interest in Miller. A myriad of other schools had recruiters at the NJCAA tournament. It could open more doors for Miller.
No matter where his career continues, he's left a indelible mark on the JWCC program.
"We've been fortunate to play a part in his story, and I look forward to watching him progress in the next part of his story," Hoyt said.