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John "Jack" Miller

John "Jack" Miller in 1973 put Akron and basketball on the national map as a sports promoter when he and Akronite Pat Ciccantelli introduced the All-American Cage Classic. The idea for the tournament was to showcase top high school basketball talent. Little did the co-founders know how huge the Classic would become. In its inaugural year, the marjority of the teams were from Ohio and a few of the bordering states with less than 25 teams and a few hundred kids competing. Two local gyms were the sites, Cuyahoga Falls and Akron North High Schools. By the late 1990's, the figures stood at 140 teams and 1,500 players with action in more than a dozen venues. Over the years, the tournament was expanded to include younger players and girls teams. College coaches from all over the country attended to watch and hopefully get an inside lok at future talent for their recruiting efforts. The tournament featured teams from Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico and from 39 states in the U.S., including California and New Mexico. Many of the top names in the NBA have played in the high school tournament, including Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, Christian Laettner, Joe Smith and Kevin Garnett. Miller's Cage Classic spawned the growth in the U.S. of AAU basketball tournaments. But his sports affiliation didn't begin with basketball. He began his sandlot baseball managing career in 1956 and managed state championships in three age divisions beginning with Class D title in 1958, a double AA state win in 1967 and finally a Class F team in the West Akron Baseball League one year after the Cage Classic was introduced. His coaching skills placed Jack in the Greater Akron Baseball Hall of Fame.

Inducted 2016 |