Right-hander verbally commits to Crimson following brilliant junior season
By John Torenli, Sports Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Ian Miller is Harvard-bound.
The Berkeley Carroll School's ace right-hander verbally committed to the Ivy League school this week, ending months of speculation as to where he would ultimately land following a brilliant junior season in which the Brooklyn native did not allow an earned run.
“It’s great," Miller told the Eagle on Tuesday morning of his decision to join the Crimson. "Coming off of a long junior year, at the end of the road, it’s great to get the weight off my back. Everything came together with the baseball and academics [at Harvard]."
Miller was at the forefront of arguably the greatest season in BCS history, as the Lions went undefeated through the entire regular season and reached the New York State Independent Athletic Schools semifinals before a tough 2-0 loss to eventual champion Poly Prep at Columbia University earlier this year.
Miller dueled valiantly that afternoon with Blue Devils hurler Andrew Zapata, who is headed to the University of Connecticut in the fall, only to fall painfully short of his, and the Lions' ultimate goal.
Fortunately for long-time BCS coach Walter Paller, Miller will be back on the hill next spring, hoping to help the Park Slope school capture its second state crown and first since beating Poly in the title game back in 2009.
“We went undefeated last year, but the real goal is to win the state championship," Miller confessed. "We want to get back there. I’ve had a taste and I want not only win this for me, but for the rest of the team and the program.
“We know that Poly has a great team and program," Miller added. "They’re always the guys that you want to beat every year. We understand that they’re an extremely good program. We think that we’re the best team around. I think that’s where the rivalry comes from. We both think we’re the best.”
Paller, who insisted last season that Miller was among the best pitchers in the city, if not the entire state, was very proud to see his top pitcher land at one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
"Ian is as reliably excellent as any pitcher in our program's history," Paller told the Eagle. "[Harvard] coach [Bill] Decker and Harvard are getting a proven winner who will do what it takes to continue building on excellence."
Miller was equally adamant about the role Paller played in his success.
“He’s had a huge impact," Miller noted. "He was able to not only support me through the whole [recruiting] process, but talk to coaches and put in a good word. He’s always giving us all the good [training] regiments and teaching us to play the game the right way. I’m extremely thankful to him.”
Though he still had official visits set up at Davidson and Holy Cross, while remaining on the recruiting board at Princeton, Yale and Dartmouth, Miller feels quite comfortable with his decision to attend Harvard in 2014.
“I wanted to get to a place with very high-level baseball and high-level academics that I could achieve," he said. "At Harvard they have a great budding program with great coaching. I think that’s the best fit for me.”
With his first taste of college baseball still more than a year away, Miller can now re-focus on finishing off his senior season with the Lions in style.
“It’s a really cool opportunity," he said. "Now we're coming into some new territory, being a senior captain, sharing the experience of my three years so far. Hopefully, I can help my teammates a lot next year.”
"I'm hoping Ian's influence on the rest of our pitching staff, and team in general, will lift us to the top of NYSAIS next year," added Paller. "It would be a fitting way to cap off a tremendous career as a Lion."