“There’s so much in a name, and so much more in you.”
It’s not often that we can single out a single player that keyed a demoralizing win (and it may not even be fair to do so now), but color me impressed by Darius Miller.
His coming off the bench (in some games) is less about his ability and more about wanting to bring in some scoring and leadership, and it’s a role he’s really stepped into and filled with aplomb. Last night’s performance, though, really showed a different side of him:
“Ice Cold Killer” Miller.
We’ve lamented in the past his tendency to turn into “Disappearius” Miller, but I’ll be the first (probably not the first) to declare Disappearius officially expired, defunct, kicked the bucket. You want plain english? Disappearius is D-E-D, dead. What had, ’til now, been a known quantity suddenly took on an aggressive, lethal edge that we’d seen glimpses of in the past, but never quite so efficiently as this.
Here’s an actual Darius-centric excerpt from my notes last night as I was watching the game:
- darius miller 3/3 early
- make that 4/4
- Missed first shot with 10:34 left in the 2d half
- 4/4 downtown… unreeeeeeal
Really, the whole team played sparking-clean offense through most of the game, excepting the ten minutes or so. Their defense and hustle weren’t bad either (how much did I love seeing Terrence hit the deck at half court to fight for a loose ball when UK was up fourteen?). So for Darius to shine over and above what was a really good game for the rest of the team by all accounts is a testament to just how impressive he was. It wasn’t quite the Anthony Davis/Arkansas game, but Miller personified the “silent assassin” last night with his quiet-yet-almost-perfect performance.
I had until recently been a firm believer that I would want Lamb taking any last-second shots that we may need, but I think I may have to reconsider. I understand that it’s just one game, but really the game was just the latest example of the steady, dependable play I’ve come to expect from him. On a team full of scoring options, the night that Darius became the sixth double-digit scorer may be the night that, for me, he bid adieu to his nefarious alter-ego and became “Ice Cold Killer” Miller. Or Scarius Miller. Or any other cool nickname you can think of. I’m just throwing those out there; if you don’t like them, you can throw them right back.
The bottom line is this: Miller is now that senior leader that we not only expect things from, but rely on to produce whatever it is the team needs. Struggling on the glass? Miller will get some rebounds. Down a few points? Miller three. No presence inside? Miller post-up. He’s just so versatile, and it looks like he’s finally out for blood. Fantastic.
Check out the article posted on CoachCal.com after I wrote this. Seems like Darius caught more than a few people’s attention.