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Mike Miller scores 10,000 career points

AP photo Miami Heat's Mike Miller prepares to shoot against the Utah Jazz during an NBA basketball game Saturday in Miami.

Mike Miller is known for his three-point shooting.

It is only fitting that Miller surpassed 10,000 career points with a 3-pointer in the second quarter of Tuesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Miller scored six points in the game to give him 10,005 career points. He is the 48th active player to have reached the milestone and is the sixth player on the Miami Heat's current roster to have exceeded the mark.

Last season, Miller took advantage of an opportunity in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

The Mitchell native made 7 of 8 three-point baskets to help the Heat clinch the championship over Oklahoma City 121-106 on June 21.

After being in the league for 12 years, Miller finally earned his first championship on basketball's largest stage.

"I had an opportunity to let it fly, and I did it," Miller said after the game. "It was just a weight off our shoulders."

Miller tied both Kenny Smith and Scottie Pippen for second most 3-pointers in an NBA Finals game. Ray Allen, who now plays alongside Miller with Miami, knocked down eight as a member of the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of the 2010 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.

For Miller's efforts last season, he was named the South Dakota Sports' Celebrity of the Year, an award given by the South Dakota Sportswriters Association, announced today.

In playing with a bad back and ailing knees, Miller played 21 minutes in the first four games of the NBA Finals. Within those games, he had two field goals, neither of which were 3-pointers, and eight points.

Because of his injuries, Miller played in 39 games last season, finishing with an average of 6.1 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.

Retiring a champion -- especially after dealing with injury after injury -- is ideal for most, but not for Miller.

The 6-foot-8 forward announced in September that he opted not to undergo back surgery and that he was ready to go for the new season.

"I basically looked at my options and back surgery, with Dr. Green pretty confident that we could get it to where I need to be without it," Miller said at a charity event in September. "My body feels good."

Miller has played in 23 of the Heat's 25 games this season, averaging just over 14 minutes per game. He's shooting 44.3 percent from the field and 41.8 percent from behind the arc.

Miller has an average of 3.9 points per game and 2.2 rebounds per game.

The Heat (19-6) leads the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference.

--The Associated Press contributed to this report

n Independent Female: Kim Kaufman, Clark

Clark native Kim Kaufman is receiving the Independent Female Athlete of the Year award for the second time in four years after another whirlwind year on the golf course.

In May, the Texas Tech senior capped her junior season by tying for eighth along with teammate Gabby Dominguez in the NCAA Championships at Franklin, Tenn. Kaufman earned honorable-mention All-American honors from the National Golf Coaches Association.

- Independent Male: Shane Van Boening, Rapid City

Rapid City native Shane Van Boening capped a stellar 2012 with his second U.S. Open title at the 37th Annual U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships in Virginia Beach, Va.

Van Boening, who is widely regarded as one of the best billiards players in the world, also won the 2007 U.S. Open before taking home the crown again this year.

- Independent Team: Brookings Legion Baseball

It truly was the "Year of the Bandits," as the Post 74 squad won the first state American Legion baseball title in Brookings history.

The Bandits beat defending champion Sioux Falls East 11-10 in the title game on Aug. 5, a few hours after knocking off perennial power Rapid City Post 22 by a 3-1 margin.

- Prep Boys' Athlete: Alex Kocer, Wagner

Wagner wrestler Alex Kocer entered his final season of high school competition with a chance to put himself on an elite list.

Kocer did just that, capping a 46-0 season with his fifth consecutive state wrestling title. Kocer clinched the crown with a 14-5 major decision over Newell's Taygen Schuelke in the championship at 152 pounds, completing a two-day run that also saw him record two pins and a technical fall.

- Prep Boys' Coach: Adolph Shepardson, Deubrook

The Sturgis native led the Dolphins to their first-ever state football title -- Class 9AA -- in his second year at the helm. The Dolphins dominated the Dakota Valley Conference for its first league title, before battling their way through the playoffs while completing an undefeated (12-0) season with a 25-22 victory over Howard in the title game.

- Prep Boys' Team: Pierre Wrestling

Winning the state's prep boys' team of the year award is just the cherry on top of a monumental year for the Pierre Governors' wrestling team.

The victories continuously piled up for the Governors this year as Pierre wasn't defeated by another South Dakota team in a tournament or dual throughout the year.

- Prep Girls' Athlete: Kari Heck, Sioux Falls

Kari Heck continued her assault on the South Dakota high school record books in 2012, making her mark as one of the top track and field athletes in state history.

The Sioux Falls Washington standout, now continuing her career at Nebraska, set an all-time record in the long jump with a leap of 20 feet, 6.5 inches as a senior.

- Prep Girls' Coach: Todd Thorson, Ipswich

Todd Thorson of Ipswich has been named the association's girls' coach of the year for all sports.

Thorson's teams have become the gold standard for cross country since he initiated the program in 2000. Since that time, the Tigers have won four girls' state championships, one boys' state title and three combined state titles.

- Prep Girls' Team: Warner Volleyball

The awards keep coming for the Warner volleyball team.

The Monarchs are the association's prep girls' team of the year for all sports. Warner created a perfect season with a State B championship and a 34-0 match record, winning all 90 of its individual games on the season.

- College Men's Athlete: Nate Wolters, S.D. State

The point guard put up huge numbers during his junior season -- 21.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game -- while leading the Jackrabbits to a 27-8 record and their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division I Tournament.

Wolters, 21 and a native of St. Cloud, Minn., earned honorable mention recognition on the 2012 Associated Press All-America list.

- College Men's Coach: John Stiegelmeier, S.D. State

Coach Stiegelmeier guided the Jackrabbits to a 9-4 season, including the first playoff victory in school history, while eclipsing the 100-win mark for his career.

South Dakota State completed its seventh winning season in nine years at the FCS level -- and made its second postseason appearance in four years -- while tying the school record for wins in a season.

Stiegelmeier has a career record of 101-76 (58-43 at the Division I level) in 16 seasons as a head coach.

- College Men's Team: S.D. State Basketball

Nate Wolters and Co. capped a school-record tying 27-win season with the first NCAA Division I Tournament appearance in SDSU history.

The Jackrabbits steamrolled IUPUI (77-56) and Southern Utah (63-47), before getting past Western Illinois 52-50 in overtime to win the Summit League postseason title in March in Sioux Falls.

- College Women's Athlete: Amber Hegge, South Dakota

It's been nine months since Amber Hegge walked off the basketball court at the DakotaDome for the last time.

Hegge guided the Coyotes to a 23-8 record and a berth in the WNIT during her senior season, when she led the Summit League in rebounding (8.5) and was second in scoring (19.2).

- College Women's Coach: Curt Fredrickson, Northern State

Curt Fredrickson of Aberdeen is no stranger to the South Dakota Sports Writers Association year-end awards.

Today, he wins his sixth such award. He also is one of the winningest women's basketball coaches in the nation.

His teams have 714 wins, two national titles and numerous post-season appearances in Fredrickson's 34 seasons at NSU.

- College Women's Team: S.D. State Basketball

Four years of postseason eligibility -- four NCAA Tournament appearances.

South Dakota State won 17 of its final 20 games to finish the 2011-12 season with a 24-9 record following a 7-6 start.

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.