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Calipari’s Biggest Challenge

From KSR College’s Tara Bilby

Everyone knows that Calipari can secure some of the top recruits year after year. The question that most coaches have been asking Cal is not how he secures these top recruits, however, but how he plans on finding the next Darius Miller. It’s been said before but it’s worth repeating. While Darius was on the team he was the heart of the BBN fan base. He was a Kentucky boy who grew up watching the ‘Cats, was a fan, and made his dream come true when he finally donned the blue and white. He was an unselfish teammate, stepping up when he needed to, and stepping back when it would benefit the team. He was more concerned about where the team was going and how he was going to be a part of it getting there than he was about where he was going and how he was going to get there. That’s not something that you come by very often in a player, especially one of Darius’ caliber, and coaches recognize this. The fact that Calipari gets asked this question so much shows just how important others view role players like Darius Miller on Kentucky’s team.


Many think that Derek Willis will be able to take over a similar role when he arrives, there was even a KSR post a while back explaining why that may be the case. While it’s true that he is a Kentucky boy and most likely won’t be a one-and-done, for a player to pick up Darius’ role you have to look beyond the surface. While both are factors that the fan base enjoys, Miller being a Kentucky boy doesn’t affect the team, and while having a player that isn’t a one-and-done is nice, it’s not exactly essential for Calipari to win a championship. Experience is a nice thing to have, but if Kentucky has proven anything it is that talent is more essential when going after the title. What these coaches are really questioning is how Calipari is going to find another player who is as unselfish as Miller, with just as much talent.


While Miller is virtually impossible to replace, it’s important that Kentucky have a guy on the roster to take over his role. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a player who is going to stay all four years, but it does have to be a guy that is willing to make a sacrifice for the greater good. A guy who is patient and realizes that his time will come, a guy who recognizes that although he may not be leading the team in points, assists or blocks, his role is just as, if not more important. It’s a guy that’s going to be hard to find. But when the next Darius comes along the sacrifices he makes will be made up to him tenfold. Maybe he’ll even have a teammate texting the Hornets GM to pick them as the #1 overall draft pick.

Article written by Jonathan Schuette

7 Comments for Calipari’s Biggest Challenge

  1. Tain't
    9:47 pm August 11, 2012 Permalink

    *Donned* the blue and white. Otherwise, a good article.

  2. I Say
    10:01 pm August 11, 2012 Permalink

    Ive lowered my expectations on Derek Willis. I have a feeling he’s going to be the next Jon Hood, a scorer who can fill it up but doesn’t know how to handle physical play.

  3. John Wilmhoff
    10:28 pm August 11, 2012 Permalink

    The first person who comes to mind isn’t from Kentucky, but I think Kyle Wiltjer could step into a similar role that Darius had in his three years with Calipari. From a production standpoint, he’s already ahead of where Darius was after his freshman year. That, of course, says more about the coach than either player though.

  4. 3rd grade Engilsh teacher
    11:28 pm August 11, 2012 Permalink

    It is that guy who. Not that guy that.

  5. Brian
    12:11 am August 12, 2012 Permalink

    I agree #3. I think Kyle Wiltjer will be able to fill the role that Darius played. Kyle is loved by the fans, enjoys his role on the team and seems like an all around good kid. Plus he can shoot lights out!

  6. John Ellis
    12:29 am August 12, 2012 Permalink

    Kyle isn’t from Kentucky, but he seemed perfectly happy to accept his role last year even though he was highly touted as a high school prospect. He was developing a lot as a shot blocker, it’s mostly a matter of moving his feet when defending outside. Until then his three pointers will compensate nicely.

  7. jmoney
    5:08 am August 12, 2012 Permalink

    I think Kyle will so great thisyear. But in all honesty it dnt matter to me who it is as Long as we bring home number 9.