St. Louis Aaron Miles played basketball in April in St. Louis -- just not in the game he had hoped.
The Kansas University senior guard wore a slight smile in the locker room after his National Association of Basketball Coaches All-Star team defeated the Harlem Globetrotters, 73-68, Friday at the Savvis Center, but still remained melancholy even after the thrilling victory that snapped a 533-game winning streak by the Globetrotters.
Miles scored the last four points on the night -- his only points -- to cement the outcome.
Didn't he end his college career on a winning side?
"I think everybody in here would tell you their college career ended with a loss," Miles said. "That's how my college career ended. This game is the start of a new level."
Although he has yet to sign with an agent, that new level continues Tuesday, when he travels to Portsmouth, Va., for NBA camp workouts. As of Friday, he wasn't sure if fellow KU senior Keith Langford would be joining him because of the shooting guard's still-sore left ankle.
Miles started Friday's game, coached by UConn's Jim Calhoun, but sat most of the first quarter because of the wealth of talent available. Going into the half, Miles had only two defensive rebounds to his credit.
"There's a place in the NBA for that kid," Calhoun said of the guard who openly led the team in the three days of practices. "From the first time I shook his hand, I could tell he was a quality kid. I loved him from day one."
As the minutes ticked off, Miles' jumper rattled in from just left of the free-throw line, giving Calhoun's group a 68-71 edge with 48 seconds left. Miles hit two free throws with 2.4 seconds left to ice the game. His late-game heroics even warranted a couple of nominees from fans for the NABC All-Star's MVP.
That honor ultimately went to Kentucky's Chuck Hayes, who finished with 10 points and six rebounds. Carlos Dixon of Virginia Tech also scored 10 for the NABC All-Stars.
The Globetrotters were led by Keiron "Sweet Pea" Shine, who registered 21 points on the night, but had a hard time releasing his deadly perimeter shot when Miles was on the court.
Despite playing the role of hero on Friday, Miles left the building feeling like the odd man out because his college team was the odd team out after a stunning first-round loss to Bucknell on March 18 at Oklahoma City.
Immediately after that game, Miles found himself talking with Oklahoma State's Ivan McFarlin and other teammates who have a taste of being in the Final Four.
"I remember it vividly. We were all talking about what it means," Miles said. "It hurts, not because of Illinois and North Carolina."
He then took a long pause.
"Because we're not here."
No Roy: Miles has spoken with several members of the North Carolina coaching squad, but not to head coach Roy Williams, although he did leave a message for him to congratulate the coach on advancing to the Final Four. "I don't want to be a disturbance to him," Miles said.¢
Plans up in air: Miles is not quite sure of his plans for the rest of the weekend, although he would like to stay around for today's games and for Sunday's award ceremony, when teammate Wayne Simien could win the Naismith Trophy.
|NABC Stars||34||39 -- 73|
|Harlem Globetrotters||37||31 -- 68|