Less than 24 hours later -- fresh off a plane from Colorado with a silver medal from the FIBA Americas -- Ben Miller had more hardware to pick up.
This time it was from the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association, where Miller and Paige Thomson were recognized as the 2014 high school athletes of the year on Thursday at the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.
'It was awesome. I got to play with a lot of great players, I got to play against a lot of great players. It was humbling for me'
Miller, of Westgate Mennonite Collegiate, led his school's basketball and volleyball teams to AAA provincial championships. He was named an all-star in volleyball and MVP in basketball. He returned home Wednesday after helping the Canadian national junior basketball team win a silver medal at the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.
"It's nothing I could've imagined for my last year," Miller said. "I'm glad it all happened. It's a good way to end off my high school."
Miller's goal coming into his final year of high school was just to win at basketball, the sport he considers his favourite. He didn't expect to become the first hoops player from Manitoba in 12 years to crack a Canadian national team.
"It's (basketball) helped me so much, it's given me free education, it's given me chances to travel and to meet new guys," said Miller, who hascommitted to play basketball at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., in the fall. "Westgate means everything to me. I love the school, I love the people there, I love that I could play multiple sports and play with all my friends."
Miller, 18, noted his experience at the FIBA Americas, where he played in every game and earned about 20 minutes of playing time with Team Canada. Team Canada went 3-0 in the group stage and defeated Argentina 91-82 in the semifinals before losing 113-79 to the United States in the final. It was the highest finish ever by a Canadian team at this tournament.
The 6-3 point guard said he didn't perform his best in the final, but it was still a huge honour to represent Canada.
"It was awesome. I got to play with a lot of great players, I got to play against a lot of great players," Miller said. "It was humbling for me."
Thomson, of Neelin High School in Brandon, completed the athlete-of-the- year sweep for Manitoba basketball. The six-foot Brandon native was a graduating all-star in both volleyball and basketball. She was ranked fifth out of the top 10 female basketball players in the province and was an honourable mention in top 10 volleyball-player rankings.
"I feel so amazed and so honoured to receive this award, especially in my Grade 12 year and knowing that everything came to an end," Thomson said. "All the hard work I put in over the years finally paid off."
Thomson always knew she wanted to be a Neelin Spartan and said high school sports pushed her to where she wanted go in life, which is now the University of Victoria, where she has committed to play basketball in the fall.
"When I went on my visit (to Victoria) I bonded really well with the girls (from the school's basketball team) and I loved it out there," she said. "I'm going to be doing coastal studies and work out on the ocean. It's perfect."