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After taking 3 years off to focus on his family, former BYU Cougar Chris Miles trying to return to pro basketball

SALT LAKE CITY — A second chance to play pro basketball is hard to pass up. Especially when what took you away from it the first time was something beyond your control.

That was the situation for former BYU big man Chris Miles, who had to step away from the game three years ago for family reasons.

"Before my daughter was born we found out she was going to have some health complications. I was playing in France, so we came home," said Miles at an open tryout for the Salt Lake City Stars.

Not knowing if he would ever get the chance to play again, he started a basketball academy for young people to stay close to the game.

"I had about 100 kids that I was working with on a weekly basis," said Miles. "A lot of them daily 'cause I wanted to stay in the game."

He had a fantastic time working with the youngsters, but now that his daughter is healthy enough, he thought he would give basketball a shot one more time. "A team coming to Utah, I couldn't help myself but come out and try out."

It was a chance he was glad he took.

"Just to have a chance to try and compete and shoot for the stars again is pretty fun," said Miles. "There's a feeling you can feel on a court when there's something at stake you can't feel anywhere else. Whether there's some kind of reward at the end or not, the feelings are incredible."

Those were feelings he had missed.

"The feeling of competing and just kinda having an unknown, the sky's the limit, it's just a unique feeling," he said. "There's something about playing in front of people and playing for something on the line competitively that is very, very difficult to re-create anywhere else.

"I have been a part of a few competitive things. Coaching is a lot of fun. You feel some of those emotions vicariously through the players, but when you are out there playing for yourself and you gotta dig deep on your own, there's just something unique to it."

If something doesn't materialize from his tryout with the Stars, a return to Europe isn't out of the question.

"I think I can make it over there. You have a larger variety of leagues and at this point in my career I don't have to be a starter. I can be a role player, I can be a team guy — come in and play really good for the minutes that I get. Before I had to be a starter, wanted to be on the court every second. It was all about stats. For me now, just being a little bit older, having coached for a couple of years, I look at the game a little bit differently. If I get that chance I would be very grateful for it."

Jay Yeomans is a sports writer for DeseretNews.com. Contact him at jyeomans@deseretdigital.com.