By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
Barbourville Tigers' senior Devon Mills signed a letter of intent to play college basketball at Alice Lloyd College Tuesday, adding another accomplishment to his impressive high school resume.
In addition to being tagged as the Times-Tribune's Player of the Year, Mills was the catalyst in guiding the Tigers to a 19-12 record this season along with a trip to the 13th Region Tournament. He paced the team with 22.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.
Mills was more than just an important player on the floor though. Barbourville head coach Dinky Phipps said the senior led by example on and off the court all season long.
“Devon was as good a kid off the court for us as he was when he was in the game,” Phipps said. “He came in every day and worked hard for us and that really helped push our entire team to work harder.
“During the offseason, Devon came into the gym on his own and worked on his own for a couple hours a day when he could have been out doing other stuff,” he added. “His hard work really paid off for him and I couldn't be any more proud of what he has done than I already am.”
The success Mills had this year didn't come easy, but after Tuesday's signing he said the motivation to improve as a player and as a team was something the Tigers gained right away.
“Coming into the season our team wasn't really picked to do anything this season and I wasn't even in the top 10 as far as players in the 13th Region,” Mills said. “Because of that, we really wanted to come in and work hard and prove that we were a team that when you faced us, you were going to have a battle if you wanted the win.
“I worked really hard on my game because I knew I could do more as an individual to help the team get better,” he added. “I worked in the gym every day in the off season and lifted weights three times a week, so I really put a lot of effort into having a good senior season.”