By: Ethan Fuller
Featured graphic courtesy of BU Athletics.
When Miles Brewster takes the Case Gym court next season, he will instantly be one of the most energetic members of Boston University men’s basketball.
The 6-4 guard is “attack mode” personified — Brewster uses his quick first step to explode to the rim and create chances for himself and others. The Brooklyn native and Hotchkiss School graduate chose BU over numerous Division I offers including Yale, Brown and Patriot League foe Bucknell.
Brewster talked to Ethan Fuller on Wednesday about the evolution of his game, his recruiting process, and some players he enjoys watching.
Ethan Fuller: You mentioned in a 2018 interview that Donovan Mitchell and Collin Sexton are two rising young guys you like to watch. What is it about them that you model your game after?
Miles Brewster: At the time going into that summer I was watching a lot of Mitchell and Sexton film. I think the thing about those two guys, and I think you could even throw Russell Westbrook in there too, is that in many ways their biggest attribute is their ability to affect the game in intangible ways. And I think that’s what I bring — a kind of intangible energy. I’m coming in as a freshman, but I still think I can be a leader, and even if I’m not making shots or filling up the stat sheet, I would still be affecting the game leading by example, playing 110 percent on both ends of the floor.
Someone like Collin Sexton or Donovan Mitchell –obviously they both have incredible offensive ability, but they’re both able to affect the game with their energy, and Russell Westbrook too of course… And that’s what Coach Jones told me is the reason he really liked me. He said I emulated what he wanted in a player.
EF: Are there other players right now that you’re also watching?
MB: I’m always looking at a bunch of players. I’m not just looking at guards, I’m looking at bigs and just the game in general because I think I’m a basketball nerd in general. But I would say a guy I’m trying to emulate is Luka Doncic. I think something that gets overlooked a lot, especially with highlight culture, hoop mixtape culture and that type of stuff, is the ability to pass the ball and be a good playmaker. What makes Luka Doncic so lethal is his ability to pass the ball, and when he’s getting into the lane he’s able to look off defenders and look to the corner and give a bounce pass, or look to the pick-and-roll man and hit the corner.
It’s not just his ability to shoot and attack the rim, but it’s also that added layer of playmaking that makes him super lethal, and I think that’s something that I added to my game this year. I led my team in assists and I didn’t play point guard, and I think that’s something I can definitely do at the next level that can translate right away.
EF: You have also said that your jump shot is an area you’ve focused on — how has that improved over the last year?
MB: My jump shot definitely still isn’t where I want it to be. That being said, I think I’ve improved tremendously. I think my three-point percentage is around 37-38 [percent]; the thing is, I upped my attempts from last year. Last year I think I took less than two attempts per game and I didn’t start shooting threes until the end of the season. This year I think I was more consistent. I still think it’s inconsistent; there’ll be games where I go 1-4 and then 3-5, but overall I think I’m more confident shooting it. And it’s really just about reps, you know.
EF: What aspects of Brooklyn do you want to bring to BU?
MB: I’d say Brooklyn, in my head, means independence, and being an individual, a stand-out individual, and not trying to fit in with the rest. Especially going to a boarding school, that’s the way I felt about Brooklyn as opposed to a lot of other places. Going to Boston I just wanna bring my individuality, not only when it comes to basketball but just living life in general — being a leader, being a stand-out individual and not being a follower.
EF: What was your process in narrowing down schools you wanted to go to?
MB: I come from a family that definitely holds education in high regard, and learning and critical thinking in high regard. I don’t know if it was necessarily number one, but going to a school where I’d be challenged intellectually, and where I could go as a learn, was the big thing. So that kinda crossed off a lot of schools that had offered me. My final four choices were Bucknell, Boston U., Yale and Brown.
At the end of the day I went with BU because it provided me a rigorous academic environment, it provided me a multicultural, multiracial, multinational social experience, and it also provided a place that I felt kind of familiar in. When I visited suburban or rural schools, they didn’t feel as familiar as it did walking around Boston and seeing different people around.
I’d say also Coach Jones — the immediate thing was that I always liked Coach Jones, but the thing I noticed about his players is that everybody else also liked Coach Jones. I didn’t get that sense when I went to other schools; there were other reasons — they weren’t bad reasons — but when I asked Walt Whyte, and I asked Alex Vilarino and I asked Javante McCoy, everybody said a big reason was Coach Jones. And that showed me it wasn’t just me. It was also everybody else who liked Coach Jones and saw him as a role model almost.
EF: That’s really cool — so you appreciate having a team that really feels connected with a coaching staff?
MB: Yeah, and that’s a vibe I got from a lot of schools: our coach was just our coach, and that was the only role he plays in our lives. I did not get that sense from [Coach Jones] — and it’s not like I need Coach to be my best friend or anything, but I feel like I’m going to have a better relationship because I can have a conversation with him. He’s going to be able to coach us better if we can talk about a movie or something.
EF: Assuming everything works out well and BU can head to March Madness next year, what would be your dream March Madness upset if you could pick any team?
MB: (Laughs) To be honest, it still is kinda crazy to think it’s even possible that I could play in March Madness. Watching it as a kid, it hasn’t even hit me that that’s a place I could possibly play. But I mean… it’d be cool to beat Duke. But any upset would be lit, honestly, I don’t care; if we win a March Madness game, I’ll take it.
EF: What does your pregame hype music look like?
MB: I don’t really have a pregame hype song. If you know me, you know I listen to so much different music. There are times where I’ll listen to Future pregame. As of recent, I was listening to a lot of Pop Smoke pregame — rest in peace to him. But I listen to everything — whatever’s resonating with me.
EF: What does getting prepared for college basketball look like for you now with workouts?
MB: Right now I’m set up in the house with some weights. I’m looking to gain weight; I’m trying to put on 7-10 pounds probably, so I’ve been lifting a lot. I got sent a workout schedule, so I’ve been following that. Also going to the court outside, because all of the [indoor] courts are closed right now in the city, but there’s an outdoor court I go to in the mornings. I’d say the main focus right now is getting my body right, making sure I’m in shape, and cardio, too. Just so I’m in shape for whenever we get started.
EF: What about BU’s play style do you think will suit you right away?
MB: I think I’ll enjoy their faster pace and their desire to attack the rim. I know they got a lot of guys that like to attack the rim, and I like to do that, too, so I think that’s what it’ll be. But also just playing high-level defense, and thinking back about the conference championship game, a lot of the reasons they won that game was because of their defense. Just playing with a bunch of guys who also want to lock up on defense.
This interview has been edited and condensed.