Juevol Myles’primary goal in life is to make his mother proud.
“I am big on family and loyalty,” said Myles, a senior guard for the University of South Dakota men’s basketball team. “Through basketball, I just want to make them smile and my mom proud.”
It is likely that the Myles’ clan is smiling proudly. Not only has Myles become a leader for a young Coyotes basketball team, he is averaging 15.8 points per game (4th, Summit League) and ranks first in the Summit League in free throw shooting at 88 per cent.
Myles, originally of Ajax, Ontario, has a good reason for wanting to please his family. Through the example of his mother, Carol (Fiddler), and the support and urging of his brother Jermaine and sister Seterah, he developed a passion and skill for basketball, earning the chance to play basketball at the NCAA DI level.
He has long admired the strength of his mother, who faced a personal crisis when her husband – Meryvn- died at the age of 30 from cancer when Juevol was just three years old.
“She was a young miss with three kids and her soul mate left the earth. She pushed through and that is why I care so much about family. It is her example that has driven me to become passionate about this game,” said Myles, who also credits his brother for opening his eyes to basketball. “When I was young, he asked me, if I wanted to play basketball at a high level?’ I said that I did. From then on he really drove me.”
Initially he impatiently watched his brother and his friend Daniel Greeno on the court. Slowly he was integrated into the game. “I learned a lot. I can’t thank him enough for what he did for me.”
After that playground education, Myles later starred at Pickering High (Ontario) where he was part of a team that won back-to-back titles. Initially, he was headed to play at DI basketball for Louisiana Tech, but a five-year eligibility rule in Canada caused problems and he didn’t make it through the NCAA Clearinghouse. Myles never played for Louisiana Tech and ended up at Tallahassee Community College where he was able to establish DI eligibility. After averaging about 21 points per game, he was recruited by several DI schools, ending up at Kansas State, where he played for current South Carolina head coach Frank Martin.
“I learned a lot from Coach Martin. While it didn’t translate into a lot of playing time, he was a great influence on me. He is a family guy, who cares about his players,” said Myles, who played in 19-of-34 games and backed up All-American Jacob Pullen, now playing professionally overseas.
Yet, his lack of playing time frustrated Myles. He decided to transfer, a decision that placed him at a crossroads in his life.“Transferring meant losing a year of eligibility and not a lot of the schools wanted a point guard for one year.”
Then, USD entered the picture, when assistant coaches Joey James and Chris Kassin made a call. He quickly made a decision to come to Vermillion. After sitting out a year due to transfer rules, Myles took over the point guard duties this fall and is making the best of it.
“I will always be grateful to Coach Boots for taking a chance on me,” said Miles, who recently recorded back-to-back 20 point outings, including 22 in a 74-71 upset win over preseason Summit League favorite South Dakota State on Jan. 6.
His leadership and effort is appreciated by Boots. “Juevol has been a great fit for our team. He has done everything we have asked him to do. He leads us on the floor and has brought an all-around game to our team. He has taken the opportunity and gotten the most out of it. A great player and person,” said Boots.
While Myles has designs on continuing basketball after graduation, his focus right now is leading USD. In 18 starts, he has 14 double digit scoring games, including seven of 20 points or more. His play has helped the Coyotes to a 3-3 start in the Summit League (4th) and 7-11 overall..
“Coach (Boots) has put a lot of trust in me. I just want to help this team get better. Maybe we can get on a roll and do some things. I just want to be part of developing a program that I know will do some good things in the future.”
With that maturity and selflessness, Myles continues to follow his mother’s example. And for that, she surely is smiling…and proud.