Brooklynn Miles, left, and her little sister, Jordynn Miles. (Photo provided by family)

The nearly 4-year-old voice of Brooklynn Miles coming from the backseat of a blue Corolla left no uncertainty. With arms crossed, Brooklynn declared she was done with ballet and would instead play basketball.

Her mother knew her child well enough to know that the tutu would be packed away forever. Her father couldn’t wait to get a basketball in Brooklynn’s hands.

Thirteen years later, Miles committed to Coach Kellie Harper and the Lady Vols. The 17-year-old did so despite not being able to visit the campus outside of a trip with her father in May – during which she could not meet the coaches because of the recruiting shutdown brought on by COVID-19 – and after a recruitment process that was conducted entirely by video, phone calls and text messages.

Miles was just as determined to play basketball for Tennessee as she was to end her ballet career. She made a visit to Knoxville with her father, Gordon Miles, in June for a self-guided tour.

“It helped make my decision because I already had a feeling in my gut that Tennessee was the place for me before even visiting the campus,” Brooklynn Miles said. “When I went and visited the campus, that topped it off. We went on our own. We kind of gave ourselves a tour. I liked the campus.”

On July 1, Miles, a 5-6 speedster who plays for Franklin County High School in Frankfort, Kentucky, made it public with a post on social media.

Listening to her daughter talk in the backseat of the car that day, a commitment to Tennessee 13 years later wasn’t something Rachel Holt could foresee then.

“I did not see for a moment the path of her going DI to one of the most prestigious programs and to rock it out,” Holt said. “From her sitting in my backseat to telling me what she was going to do and actually executing it and doing it? Especially for being a young mom, I am just so thankful for the family’s determination.”