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Elation washes out draft pick confusion for Miller family

Mitchell native and South Dakota State University's Macy Miller hugs her mom Shelly following the win over the University of South Dakota in the Summit League tournament championship on March 12 at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls. (Matt Gade / Republic)1 / 2
Mitchell native and South Dakota State University's Macy Miller walks out for Senior Night with her parents Alan and Shelly Miller on March 2 at Frost Arena in Brookings. (Matt Gade / Republic)2 / 2

Jordan Miller couldn't help but smile and revel in the moment.

His sister, Macy, was selected on Wednesday by the Seattle Storm in the WNBA Draft, and all those hours perfecting that sweet jump shot paid off for the former Mitchell Kernel and South Dakota State Jackrabbit.

"I sat back and just thought about it for a second, like this is actually pretty cool," Jordan Miller said. "It's something you think about, but you just think, 'Is it actually going to happen?'"

There were moments Wednesday that nobody—including Macy's own family—knew what was happening or what would happen next during a bizarre night.

As the WNBA Draft unfolded, Macy Miller was anxiously waiting for the life-changing call to inform her she had been drafted. Her phone didn't ring. But seeing her name on TV was the first indication she was picked by the Seattle Storm.

"I was in complete shock," Macy said. "I had no words. I was just sitting there just smiling and kind of shaking because it's something you have been working for your whole life."

But what followed next for the Miller family over a 25-minute span was a rollercoaster of emotions. Macy's parents—Alan and Shelly—were following the draft at The OverTime Steakhouse and Sports Bar.

During ESPNU's coverage of the WNBA draft, the station posted the final six picks all at once and reported Miller was drafted by the Storm. But the bottom ticker later reported it was Kentucky's Maci Morris that was selected with Seattle's pick.

"We saw it come on and we were excited about it," Alan Miller said. "The next thing you know, ESPNU shows Maci Morris. We were a little bit disappointed."

Next, the Storm's official Twitter account tweeted and later deleted a post about the franchise drafting Miller. The WNBA Twitter account also posted a tweet with the final selections and it excluded Miller.

"We didn't know what was going on," Shelly Miller said. "That was really stressful. It was kind of emotional. We were so happy and then it got deleted, and I felt so bad for Macy that she thought she was drafted and then not."

Jordan Miller, watching from his home in Sioux Falls, was in the dark like everyone else.

"It was a shock right away to see her name," Jordan said. "It's almost kind of disheartening a little bit because you think about it and you get all excited and then it's like, 'OK, maybe not.'"

Macy later received a call from the franchise to inform her she was indeed the pick. Then at 8:17 p.m., the Storm tweeted: "OFFICIAL: With the 36th pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft, the Seattle Storm select Macy Miller from @GoJacksWBB."

It was official: the youngest of four children in the Miller family was headed to the WNBA and those emotions of frustration turned to joy.

"I really felt good for her, because she's always wanted to do that ever since she was a little girl," Alan said. "She had the desire to be a basketball player. She used to practice, practice, practice outside by herself, and she really likes the game and I think she wanted to continue on and so we were really excited for her."

Unable to be together due to the blizzard blowing through the state, the Miller family then had a group FaceTime call that included Alan, Shelly, Macy, Jordan, daughter Tara and son Jade.

"We just told her how proud we were of her and how happy we were," Shelly said. "She was pretty excited. I wish we could have been together, but with the weather, there was no way we could have been there."

The next day, Alan received a host of congratulatory calls and texts.

"You got to share it with a ton of people around you," Alan said. "... It's just great to be from Mitchell and South Dakota when that stuff goes on."

Up next, the Storm start training camp later this month as Macy Miller will push for a roster spot. The Storm has 11 players under contract, and WNBA rosters are capped at a maximum of 12 players.

Macy isn't the first from her family to get drafted by a professional basketball team. First-cousin, Mike, was drafted by the Orlando Magic in the 2000 NBA Draft and enjoyed a lengthy NBA career. Mike's brother, Ryan, was drafted in the 1999 CBA Draft. Alan was selected by the Sarasota Stingers in the 1985 CBA Draft.

After starring at Southwest Minnesota State University, Jordan contemplated playing overseas. However, he was at peace with finishing his playing career after 2013.

But his message to Macy is simple: seize this opportunity.

"It's one of those things, basketball does come to an end," Jordan said. "So just have fun with it and make sure you live out each moment."

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