Murken Column: Introducing the Your Prep Sports Area All-Effort Team

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Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

Let’s get right down to it – Masen Miller is a baller.

If you’ve watched the Regina senior point guard at all over the past several seasons you have probably already come to that conclusion.

The statistics bear out the claim that Miller can ball with the best of them.

He ranks 11th in the state in scoring (25.2), is second in made 3-pointers (68) and leads his team in assists, rebounds and steals.

None of those numbers are what stands out most about Miller.

Easily the most impressive element of Miller’s multi-faceted game is how hard he plays.

Miller puts up stats that rank with anyone in the state while rarely leaving the court.

I don’t have average minutes played stat for Miller this season but I’ll guarantee it ranks among the highest in the state.

What Miller does better than nearly any prep player I’ve seen is continue to play with a higher level of intensity than anyone else despite rarely receiving a break.

Earlier this season Miller explained how an offseason strategy allowed him to compete at such a high level.

Miller said he’d train until he was fatigued, even exhausted, then he’d work on shooting.

Essentially, he made his offseason workouts so difficult that playing 32 minutes as hard as he can while being constantly double-teamed was easy.

The defenders chasing Miller in box-and-ones tire as the game goes on. Meanwhile, Miller never seems to lose a step.  

It isn’t complicated. Miller plays harder for longer than his opponents.

When you do that success will come.

It’s a simple strategy and one that is anything but easy to implement.

Miller has done a better job of playing harder for longer than any prep player I can recall outside of City High all-stater Ashley Joens who has become one of the most effective players in college basketball by continuing to do the same thing at the next level.

There is a lot to like about the way Miller plays but there is nothing I enjoy more than the energy he puts forth at all times.

Everyone loves a player full of energy.  

Led by Miller, here is my starting five for the Your Prep Sports all-effort team for 2020.

Some of favorite area players to watch based solely on how hard they play the game.

Your Prep Sports All-Effort

Masen Miller, Regina – When your best player is also your hardest worker you’ve got something. That’s Miller. A basketball junkie and a tireless worker on both ends of the court.  

Elly Holubar, Solon – Rebounding is all about effort and few players go after misses with the same intensity as Holubar. What the 5-foot-7 Holubar lacks in size she more than makes up for in effort while averaging a team-best 8.7 rebounds and grabbing a school-record tying 21 rebounds in a win over West Delaware last week.

Haley Napoli, Liberty High – Napoli won’t stand out on the state sheet, the sophomore guard averages a modest 4.7 points per game, but catches your eye immediately with her hustle. A grinder that makes your team better.

Sasha Koenig, West Branch – You might find a player that plays as hard as Koenig but you won’t find any that play harder than the West Branch sparkplug. A gym rat that loves the game and plays like it’s the last time she’ll ever be on the court.  

Tate Crane, West High – When Steve Bergman, who has always put a premium on toughness, describes a player as possessing that very trait it’s good enough for me and the longtime West High coach has praised Crane’s toughness on several occasions. A classic glue guy that won’t be outworked.  

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