Q&A: Wes Miller

Publish date:

Try eventually earning a scholarship in that jersey when programs across the country simply shook their heads.

Try picking up an NCAA Championship trophy in that jersey.

Try earning a starting role in that jersey

Try making an impression in that jersey so strong that professional leagues overseas take notice.

The former "Roy's Boy" may have completed his college days, but the distinctive path he laid continues to guide his future. Now add a book to his list of accolades. With The Road to Blue Heaven, Miller opens the diary of his senior season in Chapel Hill to the public, telling of his journey from transfer to starter, walk-on to scholarship player, and Carolina admirer to disciple.

Sure, there have been many books about North Carolina basketball, but none have been by a player while that player is in the midst of his Tar Heel career. And no Carolina basketball author has given SI on Campus the full scoop on his literary feat.

SI: What inspired you to write this book?

WM: Well, I wish I could say it's an original thought, but my freshman year at UNC, I got coach (Jerod) Haase's book. He actually wrote a diary of his senior year at Kansas. I read that and really enjoyed it, and really never thought anything else about it at that point. But then going into my senior year, I remembered that book and what he had done, and wanted to do something similar to it. I kind of stole the idea from coach Haase.

SI: What surprised you about the process of writing a book?

WM: It was a new thing. I'm so used to just playing basketball and going to school. But it was a fun challenge. I met with Adam Lucas (editor) once a week and we went over everything and kind of stayed up to date on what had been going on to that point in the season. So, having Adam, who is such a talented writer and had written books before strictly on Carolina basketball, really helped me stay on track with the whole thing.

SI: How did the collaboration with Adam Lucas work exactly?

WM: We both did some writing for it. I would keep notes from here and there, and then I would talk to him. It's all in my words, but he helped me write it at the same time.

SI: What's your favorite part in the book?

WM: That's a tough question. I don't think there's like one chapter I enjoy more than others. But I what really like about the book is it gives you a different perspective that many people don't know about: life as a college basketball player -- life as a North Carolina college basketball player. It's kind of a behind-the-scenes look at the season. It'd be one thing to write a book and talk about how Tyler [Hansbrough] had 25 points and 12 rebounds and Tywon [Lawson] had eight assists that game. It's less of that and more talk of what it was like in the locker room, what it was like in practice -- things that the general public doesn't really get to see.

SI: What was the hardest part about writing the book?

WM: The hardest part was staying on track with it. You go through the ups and downs of the season and, especially when you're going through some tough times and you're losing some games, you don't feel like sitting down and writing notes down about what had just happened and keeping a diary and needing to talk about the book. You're so concerned about what's going on with the season. It wasn't extremely difficult, but it was time consuming. It was something I really enjoyed doing. It's been fun to go back to read and see -- even while we were in the season -- what had already been written and remember things that had happened just two months before that you kind of forget about as the season progresses.

SI: Did your teammates and coaches know you were planning to publish this during the season?

WM: I think a couple of them did, and a couple of them didn't. I think they figured it out towards the end of the season, but it wasn't something I really made public or talked about a lot. I talked about it with Coach [Roy] Williams before I did it to make sure it was OK with him. Once he gave me his blessing, I just went ahead with it and tried to keep it quiet throughout the year.

SI: Do you have any expectations or goals for the success of the book?

WM: I'm very unfamiliar with anything in the book world. It's new territory for me. But my expectation was to put something together that I could look back and read 20 years down the road and really be able to remember what my experience was like at UNC. And, at the same time, if people can get a look into Carolina and its fans, and if college basketball fans can get a look at what it's like to be a college basketball player, then that would be great, too. So that was really the motivation behind it.

SI: Can we expect another book from you in the future?

WM: There's no telling. At this point I don't have any plans to do another one. But I really enjoyed doing it and working with Adam Lucas. Who knows if I'll do anything in the future worthy of a book, but it was something I really enjoyed.

SI: How do you feel about playing in London?

WM: I just wanted to continue to play basketball. I wasn't ready to completely hang it up. The coach of my team, the London Capital, is Steve Bucknall, a former Carolina player. So, that's a good connection and it makes me feel a lot more comfortable. And I also get to do a little coaching at the youth level while I'm there too. I've always felt that I wanted to be a basketball coach whenever I'm done playing, and this is a way for me to actually get some coaching experience and play at the same time.

** Through the season's first eight games, Miller is averaging 23 points per game for the London Capital.