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Esther Miller

Esther Miller will continue her career in basketball and track at North Park University in Chicago. 

SULLIVAN -- Esther Miller, a senior at Sullivan, is to continue her career in basketball and track at North Park University, a Division III school of 3,136 in Chicago. 

"North Park is getting a great student/athlete," said Sullivan girls' basketball coach Sheri McCain of the 5-8 forward. "She is one of the hardest working girls that I have coached. North Park is getting a good all-around player, who can play inside or outside. She can handle the ball and she brings a lot to them."

Miller finished her Sullivan career with 1,100 points and averaged 9.7 per game. She led the Redskins in rebounds all four years finishing with an average of 6.8. She also averaged 2.7 steals and an assist per game.  She was 425-of-996 (.447) from the field. 

Miller said the choices were between Millikin University and North Park. 

"I really liked the Millikin's coaching staff," said Miller. "North Park has better academics for what I am going into, which is in physics, specifically the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) area. They have really good connections up there and internships available."

McCain said, "It was such an honor to coach this young lady. I think back to when she started basketball four years ago. She worked extremely hard as a freshman and we won eight games and that wasn't good enough for her. She worked all summer long and joined a travel team. It was then I knew that there was something special about her (right after her freshman year)."

Miler was a unanimous first-team all-Central Illinois Conference player as well as a second-team all-Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Class 2A All-State player. She was voted the Most Outstanding Player on the team and also earned the offense and defensive awards.

"We talk about leaving a legacy and this young lady definitely left her legacy here," said MCcain. "She will be sadly missed and I wish her the best and I am excited she is going to North Park. Any coach would be lucky to have her on the team."

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Miller, who also played on the golf team, said she went to a basketball camp in third grade, didn't play at all in fourth grade and has played since fifth grade on. She didn't start a game until her eighth-grade year. She was a post player until her junior year. 

"My senior year I took more of a perimeter position," said Miller who said the fact she has played many positions has helped her. "I know what every player is supposed to do be doing. When someone else doesn't know where to go I usually know what they are supposed to be doing and help them."

North Park competes in the Collegiate Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin and is coached by former University of Illinois at Chicago assistant Amanda Crockett, who is in her 10th year. There were no seniors on the 11-16 team last season. 

Miller, a National Honor Society member, said she didn't decide to be in track until after the first semester this school year. 

"She is one of the hardest workers that I have ever coached," said Sullivan girls' track coach Kali Taylor. "She brings that work ethic and dedication. She is a phenomenal teammate who always encourages her teammates and supports them. She was in track for three years but made a significant impact. She is the first person to arrive at practice and one of the last to leave practice. She is always wanting to know what she can do to improve her time. or improve her distances. I am looking forward to seeing her at the next level."

Miller set the Sullivan school record in the triple jump going 35-6 3/4 May 13. 

North Park is coached by former Eastern Illinois coach (2004-2010) Geoff Masanet, who is in his eighth season. 

"I know I will be doing the 400 and the triple jump," said Miller. "I am not sure of any other events, but I am open to whatever they want me to do."

Contact Mike Monahan at (217) 238-6854. Follow him on Twitter: @monahanmikejgtc

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Sports writer

Mike Monahan covers area sports for the JG-TC.

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