By John "Woods" Armwood III
Notre Dame star PG Olivia Miles is a New Jersey native. She’s from Philipsbugh, New Jersey, which happens to be literally the last exit on the highway before entering the state of Pennsylvania. Like many athletes, she began getting involved in sports at a fairly young age. While Miles was thrust into sports she didn’t begin playing basketball until the age of nine. Naturally, one would think maybe her father or favorite player may have influenced her, however, turns out it was simply her pediatrician. During the Sh3GotGame interview, she emphasized how she wished it wasn’t so simple.
“Honestly, it’s nothing special,” Miles emphasized. “My doctor told my father to sign her up for as many sports as possible. One of those sports was basketball and the rest is history.”
Throughout the trial and error of finding what sport moved Miles. She realized that her most natural attribute was her toughness and competitiveness. Oddly, this usually is developed in athletes because most are naturally timid and not aware of their bodies' potential. However, Miles loved to get after it and she takes pride in that even still to this day.
Olivia Miles's “Sh3GotGame” Moment
Miles was naturally more athletic and had some size to her growing up. So much so, that they allowed her to play up due to her innate abilities on the court. In sixth grade, Miles was competing on the ninth-grade team. One game, in particular, happened to be Miles night. She explains that she was having one hell of a night and essentially dominated these high schoolers. It was at that moment she looked in the mirror after the game and realized her potential and knew she was here to stay. Miles explains how grateful she is for playing with older girls because it forced her to develop at a much more rapid paste than most girls her age.
“Playing with the older girls helped me adapt much quicker and helped me prove to myself I can hold my own,” Miles explained.
Miles Transitioning to College
Unlike the majority of her peers, Miles’s transition was slightly different. The only person who had a similar situation was Talia Von Oelhoffen, but even then, their stories are extremely different. However, due to early enrollment, Miles was stripped from the opportunity of receiving the McDonald’s All-American award. Ultimately, they all got stripped because they weren’t able to play in the game because of the rapid spread of COVID-19 at the time. However, this still was a very challenging time for Miles that she had to overcome. She admits that it took her time to overcome this feeling and sure was not easy. Miles emphasizes shifting her perspective and understanding she can only control what she can control helping her persevere.
“I wouldn’t want to say luckily but COVID robbed everyone of that experience,” stated Miles. “It was frustrating, to say the least, but my perspective shifted to gaining awards in college and reaching my ultimate goals. The feeling still stings, however, I’ve moved past it.”
Furthermore, after the whole All-American debacle, Miles was still stuck on where to commit. She had a few finalists but she had a hard time truly connecting to the staff. Until, former WNBA player, Niele Ivey, became the head coach of the Notre Dame Women's Basketball team. They’ve shared a friendship and bond for some time, and shortly after she accepted the job Miles committed to Notre Dame. When asked what’s the special aspect of you guys bind you’d love to be coached by Ivy, Miles responded:
“She allows me to play at a high level but freely. Not to say my other coaches didn’t but I never shared a connection with them like I do Ivey.”
Miles Making NCAA History
During the NCAA tournament, Miles managed to become the first person ever in NCAA history to have a triple-double. Miles holds this accomplishment dear to her heart, simply because of the weight of the achievement. When considering the legends of the game from both men and women this achievement is that much more impressive. Miles admits once she saw she was an assist away from getting the triple-double she made sure she achieved it by the end of the game.
“Throughout the game, I was trying to do whatever I could to win the game,” she stated. “However, I was just in my zone everything was flowing effortlessly. Ultimately, I hold this achievement close to my heart, and it's amazing that it can’t be beaten. It also helps instill even more confidence in myself knowing I’m the only person to do this amongst all the greats.”
Olivia Miles became the first freshman EVER to record a triple-double in BOTH men's and women's March Madness history ✅ pic.twitter.com/PUeKdnRXXV— WSLAM (@wslam) March 20, 2022
Passion Expressed Throughout the Game
There’s no secret the game of women's basketball is growing rapidly, however, at times many try to punish the women for expressing emotions throughout the game. While arguably without emotions and rivalries the men’s game wouldn’t be as exciting. Even Miles has something to say on the matter when outsiders attempt to belittle their game.
people who hate on women’s basketball make me laugh 😂😂 make it make sense— Olivia Miles (@oliviamiles06) March 22, 2022
Miles attempted to express her passion in-game against Louisville this past season. They were down a decent bit, however, Miles jumped a pass and proceeded to lay the ball up contested in the lane. Naturally, after a good play, she stared the Louisville guard down which led to several other players being involved. Louisville star SG Hailey Van Lith and Miles begin to chirp and technical fouls were handed out.
Life After Basketball for Miles
Miles has been more focused than ever as of late on her upcoming season. During the interview, we took a moment to reflect and think about her future and what it may look like going forward. She explained while she’s focusing on her career right now, she often thinks about her future and how the game of basketball can ultimately help her reach her goals. Miles has always believed in activism and attempts to use her platform to affect people's lives in a positive light often. Furthermore, she emphasized a big reason for also committing to Notre Dame outside of Ivy was the opportunities the university can provide.
“After leaving Notre Dame, it will open many opportunities for me in whatever field I decide to pursue,” she emphasized. “It was one of the biggest factors I chose to commit to Notre Dame.”
In conclusion, when asked if she’d leave any advice for anyone that may resonate with her story, Miles responded:
“Honestly, I would say stick to your own path and goals. Try not to compare to anyone or anything else. Your journey will forever be your journey.”