CINCINNATI — Woodward High School senior point guard Paul McMillan IV wants to be known as Ohio's best high school boys basketball player this upcoming season.
With a 4.0 grade-point average and No. 1 academic class ranking, McMillan wants to also become the class valedictorian next spring.
No one is doubting his resolve on either of those goals.
"School is everything," McMillan said. "My main goal is to get to the NBA, and you got to be educated on things, so I'm taking school seriously. The work ethic that you put in school carries over to basketball."
McMillan, ranked Ohio's No. 2 player overall in the 2022 class by 247 Sports, is an early candidate for the Ohio Mr. Basketball and the Gatorade state player of the year awards.
McMillan, who is 6-feet 3-inches tall, would like an opportunity to become the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference player of the year for a third season. His goal is help the Bulldogs to win the conference and advance to the state tournament.
"I think he's always been a kid who has embraced all the pressure that goes with who he is," said Triple Double Prospects high school basketball analyst Corey Albertson.
McMillan's resume during his high school career speaks for itself. He has 1,887 career points. This past season, he averaged 28 points, 5.1 assists, 3.9 rebounds and two steals for the Bulldogs (19-4). He shot 55% from the field including 52.4% from the 3-point arc and 84% from the free-throw line.
"He's working on being consistent," Woodward coach Jarelle Redden said. "You can never be the best leader, so he's working on his leadership. He's working on his jumping – he wants to be able to jump a little better this year."
McMillan said he's made it a point to add an element of his athleticism to his game this summer.
He's dunking consistently in games and has improved his numbers in 3-pointers, free throws, rebounds and assists.
"Every year you want to add something to your game, to improve your game, to show your game has made improvements," McMillan said. "I mean, my game is not flashy. I'd rather get the two points instead of dunking the ball, but that's what some coaches want to see. If a 6-2, 6-3 point guard comes down the lane and is just dunking on somebody – that's a wow factor. That's an extra bonus, so I just want to add that to my game."
McMillan's basketball IQ has been apparent since he entered high school in 2018.
"He's ahead of his time if you will," said his father, Paul McMillan III. "Very mature. He really understands weaknesses, he understands his strengths and he kind of plays to that. I think he's coming along very well."
This summer, McMillan IV is taking campus visits to determine the location of his academic and athletic future.
McMillan has several significant scholarship offers, including from the likes of Cincinnati, Xavier, Dayton, Louisville, Kansas State, Purdue, Penn State, Mississippi and others. Arizona State has expressed strong interest, too.
"For me personally, I'm just looking to build relationships with coaches and looking for a program that feels like home," he said. "If I'm going away for eight months out of the year – away from my family and away from the people that I love – I need to be comfortable. It needs to be a situation where it's mutual. So I think that's really the two biggest things. The biggest thing is being comfortable, and also the school has to fit my style of play."
A MaxPreps Junior All-American honorable mention selection in April, McMillan is rated the nation's No. 10 point guard in his class by 247 Sports.
McMillan doesn't dwell on the spotlight, though. He prefers to focus on the game itself instead of the accolades. Those who know him say McMillan is well-prepared for the next level.
"I think the other thing that is going to translate well to the college game is he's a kid where there is no question mark surrounding whether he loves the game and if he wants to get better," Albertson said. "And he's certainly somebody who is going to put a lot of time in and is willing to kind of compete to earn his minutes when he gets there."