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Dick Harmon: Former BYU star Chris Miles takes break from basketball for good cause

Published: Friday, June 15 2012 12:35 p.m. MDT

Chris Miles is a free agent, looking for a landing place since finishing two European basketball contracts in the Czech Republic and Germany after his career at BYU.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News archives

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Chris Miles is a free agent, looking for a landing place since finishing two European basketball contracts in the Czech Republic and Germany after his career at BYU.

But today, he's looking to help ease the burden of families who deal with autism and he's hoping to raise awareness and money for just that purpose.

Miles just returned from a major workout in Chicago where NBA scouts assembled to evaluate talent. He was told his performance stood out and he was one of the top two prospects who appeared. The Jazz, Knicks, Hornets and Lakers were present to take stock of Miles, who is 6-foot-10.

Miles' best game as a professional came in Germany last year where he tallied 29 points and 16 boards in one game. The team he played for won a national championship in Germany.

"I'd really like to land on an NBA team, but I have nothing against returning to the European leagues or perhaps go to Brazil or Japan," said Miles. "I'd like to travel the world and think it would be a great experience for my family."

Miles and his wife Ashley are currently renting a house in northeast Provo where they live with their daughter Taimi.

Miles has hooked up with a project this summer — doing some charity work.

The cause is just, the work is great and the results are critically needed.

Miles is uniquely qualified to tackle the challenges of autism.

Before he was 5 years old, two of his younger brothers came into this world with autism. Because this was such a challenge for his parents, it fell to Chris to help manage by taking a role as an emotional and physical provider, supporter and brother. Ryan is now 23 and Joy is 21. Chris has been their hero all their lives and has been a significant source of love and structure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta says 1 in 88 children born in the United States has some form of autism.

Miles says the needs of families with autism are two-fold, the first being education.

"People don't understand what autism is and they don't comprehend what the needs are for children who have it. Many do not have relatives or close friends who are informed enough to know how to help a family who has a child with autism," said Miles. "People need to know how to help and parents need to understand how it will affect their lifestyle."

"Secondly, there is a need for respite. It is hard to find a baby sitter for a man who is 25 years old. Where can people turn? How can they find support?"

Miles has seen autistic adults who have not had a new pair of gym shoes in 12 years. There are physical needs where money can help.

Miles has teamed up with TSXL to benefit the Eaton Alliance to help families with autism. The group is hosting a gourmet dinner and auction at The Manor at The Shops at Riverwoods on June 25 at 5:30 p.m., where BYU coach Dave Rose will be the guest speaker. "We'll be auctioning off vacation trips, sports equipment, guided hunting and fishing trips, overnight stays and dinners." More information and signup information can be found on the Internet at www.truesportsmanxl.com.

In addition, Miles plans to stage a 3-on-3 basketball tournament for autism later this summer and will do a Run for Diabetes.

"These causes are good and they are real and I'd like to do what I can with these local charities to help them provide what they need for care providers who do critical work every day and need the help," said Miles.

Somewhere along the way, in months to come, Miles will continue the basketball chapters of his life.

But summer is the window for other deeds.

And he's all in.

email: dharmon@desnews.com twitter: harmonwrites

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