May 18, 2016

Tention's in charge

Kevin McCarthy

photo of Miles Tention

In assembling a prototype point guard for post-high school basketball, the desired elements would include solid size, athletic ability, basketball IQ, vision, shooting and penetrating ability plus unselfishness. Some company has apparently been assembling just such components--probably one of those venture capital firms on Sand Hill Road--and he's goes by the name of Miles Tention.

A 2017 prospect attending Palo Alto High and playing on the top Palo Alto Midnight travel team, the going-on 6-foot-4 Tention mysteriously remains one of the most under-appreciated prospects in the scrum called basketball recruiting.

To a query about his top skills, Tention was quick to say "passing and getting my team involved in half court and full court." I've had two great coaches growing up, my Mom who has coached my AAU teams for so many years and my Dad who is a college coach. They taught me to play the right way and are my #1 influences."

For clarification, his parents are Becky Tention, a high school teacher and longtime hoops coach and Rodney Tention, who ran the Loyola Marymount program at one point, assisted at Arizona and Stanford and now assists at San Jose State University.

Being positioned at the point also requires command-and-control skills. As the younger Tention put it, "I'm definitely a leader. I probably need to improve being vocal but I show up in big games and big moments and in practices and huddles. We [our team] is never going to fold."

Beau Brown, the Palo Alto Midnight program manager, has long witnessed Tention's play. "I've watched him since the fourth grade. Miles is a guy who really understands the game--he's like a player/coach. He's completely unselfish and adjusts his game to the opponent. Miles can post up, shoot the three and go all the way to the basket. Also, you don't see many point guards do this in transition but he likes to fire the ball up the sidelines to teammates. We move the ball as fast as any team and kids have fun playing with him.

Becky Tention offered, "Miles is a true point guard with great vision. It starts with Miles as he is great in the open court because he keeps his head up and gets the ball out of his hands quickly." She added, "he has grown four inches in the last year and is 15-20 pounds heavier." Miles started high school as a 5-foot-8 freshman but now is inching close to 6-foot-4. Brown concurs--Miles is a late bloomer and he'll get stronger."

Asked to name one of his best basketball moments, Tention said, "It was this year against Gunn [High, a crosstown rival] where a bunch of my Palo Alto Midnight teammates play. I didn't play well in the first half but finished with 25 points, including four threes in the third quarter." He totaled 14 points in that third period. Gunn was undefeated at 8-0 prior to that matchup and the 74-56 final, considered a home game for Palo Alto, was actually played in the Gunn gymnasium due to the Vikings having a new facility under construction. To add insult to injury, Paly fans stormed the court at the conclusion. "It was an unreal atmosphere," Tention recalled.

Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors, is a name Tention brought up. "I like watching him because he plays so unselfishly, always making one more pass."

Maybe basketball needs a new term, one induced by Tention's play. Facilitation director sounds good.