Lawrence High senior Shelby Miller always knew she’d end up going to college at Kansas State University.
Until recently, however, she had no idea how to make it happen.
Miller, a lifelong lover of basketball and animals, always thought that the perfect scenario for her would be to land a basketball scholarship to the Div. I school in Manhattan. But a knee injury during the summer before her junior season of high school hoops derailed that plan, leaving Miller scrambling for new ideas.
It’s funny, but, in a way, basketball helped Miller get there all along.
Between the heartbreak of realizing she wouldn’t play basketball at K-State and Thursday’s ceremony at LHS that celebrated her signing a national letter of intent to join the KSU rowing team, Miller got a little help from the Wildcats’ basketball program.
“Once K-State told me that they wouldn’t be recruiting me for basketball, they told me that they let the rowing program know about me,” Miller said. “I didn’t know much about rowing, but I already knew I loved the school, so I didn’t have to determine that.”
With that in mind, Miller made an official visit to KSU on Sept. 11. She met the team — a group of 40 girls that she called a “sorority” — watched a workout and toured the campus. Three days later, on Sept. 14, she officially committed to K-State.
“I’ve been canoeing,” Miller said. “We used to go every year when I was a kid. I don’t know if that will help or not, but I’m really excited for this new adventure.”
Miller made her commitment official on Thursday in front of dozens of her closest friends and family members in the LHS library. After a short introduction by LHS girls basketball coach Nick Wood and a quick word from former LHS coach Kristin Mallory, Miller signed her letter of intent — with her parents Doug and Kay by her side — and then addressed the crowd with large doses of thanks and jokes, some intended, some not.
“I just want to thank everyone for coming today and for helping me get to this point in my life,” Miller said. “My whole dream has been to go to Kansas State. The how and when of it, I wasn’t sure of. But I’m going to take this opportunity and run with it.”
Miller, who still will play basketball this season for the Lions, plans to major in Animal Science at KSU. The only thing left to do now is fulfill the other half of her dream, which is to become a veterinarian.
“To have that opportunity to keep her competitive edge and to do it at the place she always wanted to go is incredible,” Mallory said. “We’re all real proud of Shelby.”