By the end of Isaiah Miles' freshman year at Glenelg Country School, the athletically precocious 6-foot-7 forward was a well-known prospect to college basketball recruiters across the country.
Coaches from high- and mid-major programs frequented GCS open gyms to get a look at Miles. Included in that early group of interested parties was St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli, who continued to track Miles' progress over the next two years of his high school career.
On Friday night Miles, now a senior at Milford Mill, rewarded Martelli's persistence with a commitment.
"From the beginning, I could tell they wanted me," Miles said. "Coach Phil Martelli showed me his interest was strong from the beginning. He kept it through all four of my years. … [So] it feels good. It's a lot of pressure off me now. Now I can play basketball, not worry about colleges looking at me and work at getting myself better in the gym."
Miles, who averaged 18.8 points, 13.4 rebounds, 2.75 blocks and one steal for Glenelg Country as a junior, also considered Drexel, La Salle, Loyola, North Carolina State, Richmond, St. Bonaventure, South Florida, Towson and Western Kentucky.
A 2011 Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro selection, Miles had a standout summer for Nike Baltimore Elite on the AAU circuit. NBE president Carlton "Bub" Carrington said he always envisioned Miles "playing in the ACC," and continued to think he was capable of doing so.
"But I also thought he could have a tremendous career at the Atlantic 10 level," Carrington said. "It's about picking the right level. He's done a terrific job of doing that."
At St. Joseph's, which finished 11-22 last season, Miles could have an opportunity to eventually be the centerpiece of the team. Taking on such a significant role is something that appealed to him.
"They told me I was their No. 1 priority," Miles said. "It felt great. I felt special. … I wanted to go to a program and make a change, make them better."
Carrington said Miles projects to be a face-up 4 in college. While he did much of his damage beyond the arc for Nike Baltimore Elite, Miles is definitely capable of doing battle in the paint.
"A kid his size that can shoot the ball is not always a tough guy," Carrington said. "But he's not afraid to get in there and mix it up. He will go down there, push, scratch, claw and bite. He'll definitely get into the mix. … [And] he can shoot the ball better than most 3s and 2s, so you can stretch the defense."
Miles took an official visit to St. Joseph's last weekend. He said he was blown away by the campus and impressed by the business school offerings.
"Everyone there, the whole community, people who don't play basketball, they all welcomed me in with open arms," Miles said. "Teammates treat me as if I'm already on the team."
Miles said he can't wait to join the Hawks next year and lead them back to the NCAA tournament. He's already built a solid bond with the coaching staff.
"We have a great relationship," he said. "Me and everyone on the staff, they love me and I love them. ... [They can] expect me to just work hard every single day, on and off the court."
Baltimore Sun photo of Isaiah Miles by Karl Merton Ferron / March 17, 2011