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Darius Miller’s Monday News and Views

Good morning and happy Monday to you, my friend.  It’s always a lot more fun to get the week started together when there’s been a weekend full of good news and high fives around the University of Kentucky and that’s certainly been the case since we last did this Friday.  From the win over Georgia to the arena talk to the notes from the football program, the weekend provided a lot to smile about.  And that makes this a little easier.  There’s a similar feeling of overwhelming positivity surrounding Kentucky junior Darius Miller, who seems to now be finally growing into the player that so many people, including John Calipari, have implored him to be.  Saturday’s win over Georgia, in which Miller scored 14 points, marked the fifth-straight game he’s scored in double-digits this season after never doing so in consecutive games in his entire career.  Though it was his worst game of the streak in terms of shooting percentage, you could make the argument that it was his most complete of the season as he did exactly what he hasn’t seemed to do for much of his career – make an impact when he’s on the floor.  Miller started the game with a three and helped finish it with a rebound and two free throws, but in the time between, he rebounded (one short of the team lead), attacked the basket with uncharacteristic aggression and even spent some time guarding Trey Thompkins.  We could analyze all the ways he made a difference in the game and try to correlate his surge in performance with UK’s record, but that seems unnecessary right now.  Instead, let’s just give him a salute.  He’s found his way into a lot of criticism here and a lot of other places in two and half years of being a Cat.  It only seems fair that we take time to recognize him for turning it on.  So, here’s to Darius Miller.  May he continue to make a difference for the Cats and may he continue to dominate fools on Call of Duty.

Now onto some other UK notes…

 – Before the weekend got going, the arena situation seemed to take a step in the right direction with Lee Todd and Jim Gray getting together to discuss where they both stand on the issue.  After we wrote Thursday that there could be a potential battle on the horizon if the city simply wanted to make renovations to Rupp Arena, the meeting between Todd and Gray is a positive sign, though likely one that produced little progress or resolution.  It would appear that the option that presents the best chance for a mutual agreement between the two parties is a new downtown arena, but the city’s ability and desire to make that a reality will not be known publicly for quite awhile.  When Gray’s task force returns their findings from their studies, that’s when things will get interesting.  Any talk before then is purely speculative and, to be honest, pretty awesome.  So, keep your ideas coming.

 – After a win against South Carolina on the road that saw that Cats let the Gamecocks creep back in the game, the question of whether this young team can handle a hostile road environment remains a valid one.  It’s also one that they’ll look to answer emphatically this week as they travel to Oxford and Gainesville for a pair of games against two very different teams.  The Rebels sit just half a game ahead of Auburn in the SEC West cellar and likely don’t pose any sort of threat to the Cats.  The Gators, meanwhile, could potentially give the Cats their most hostile road environment yet on Saturday when a GameDay crowd packs into the O’Connell Center for a late night game.  It will be important for the Cats to start both games like they did at Rupp Saturday and suck the emotion out of the crowd.  It will be equally as important for them to finish it the same way.  These next two games – particularly the one in Gainesville – can go a long way in creating a winning mentality for the remainder of the season, which is heavy on the SEC’s better teams.

 – After the game Saturday, Coach Cal spent some time talking about the maturity of his team and trying to answer the media’s questions about why the Cats again let a team slowly get back into the game after appearing to be put away.  Coach Cal said that he expects his veteran players – Darius Miller, DeAndre Liggins and Josh Harrellson – to be the ones to carry this young team through those stretches and how they have to be the ones making plays at the end of the game, as well as standing tall on defense.  Miller seems to be at a point of feeling comfortable making some of those plays.  Liggins’ biggest problem seems to be just finishing them.  All three seemed to have defensive breakdowns.  There’s no question about who the best players are on this team.  But, to Coach Cal at least, Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight aren’t the guys he wants to have to count on at the end to close the door.  It’s a thought that’s a bit unsettling, but one that remains as the harsh reality.  The veteran presence must improve.

 – Thanks to the victory over Georgia, the Cats now enter a three-game set that could allow them to take control of the SEC race.  A pair of wins this week could push them ahead of the Gators (who could lose to Vandy Tuesday) and into a tie with Tennessee (Auburn and Bama this week), who will visit Rupp for Bruce Pearl’s return February 8.  A win over the Vols would put UK in control of their own destiny with four of their last seven remaining at home.  If we’ve learned anything so far in this conference, though, it’s that anything can happen and the Cats could very well enter their final game of the season at Thompson-Boling with the SEC East regular season title on the line.  But, it all starts this week with a pair of road games.

– With an eventful and potentially big day approaching Wednesday, the UK football program took another step forward with the retention of assistant Tee Martin, who accepted an extension and a promotion.  For all of the nitpicking at Joker Phillips so far in his tenure as head coach, the one thing he’s shown is that he will bring in assistant coaches that are well respected and that can help build momentum on the recruiting trail.  Those are guys like Martin, Rock Oliver, Greg Nord, David Turner, Mike Summers and, now, Rick Minter.  The support of the administration in opening up the pocket book and keeping Martin away from Alabama shows a commitment to Joker and provides some positivity that he will be able to tackle the monstrous task of taking UK football to the next level exactly as he wants.  Keeping Martin was a big step for the program.

 – The Cats weren’t able to keep everyone they wanted away from Alabama, though, as word brok Sunday that three-star wide receiver Darryl Collins is headed to Alabama.  The 6’1 Collins, who did not make a scheduled visit to UK over the weekend, was already committed to the Tide, but looked at the Cats and Southern Miss as other potential options.  He said Sunday that he will enroll as a grayshirt for Nick Saban.   Collins was being targeted by UK, along with Bubba Tandy, as a potential fit for the Randall Cobb role on offense.

 – Speaking of Tandy, the three-star from Hopkinsville announced he will pick his college on National Signing Day, joining Lamar Dawson and Jon Davis as potential future Cats picking their hat Wednesday.  The Cats have five scholarships still to fill in the class of 2011 and a handful of potential options to fill them.

– While you had your eyes glued to the Cats and Dawgs Saturday, former Kentucky running back Derrick Locke was putting in a nice Senior Bowl performance, which provided an exclamation point to a week in which he likely worked his way onto the draft board.  I spoke with a scout who attended Senior Bowl practices Sunday and he said that Locke likely earned himself a late round selection and a shot to play running back in the NFL after initially being projected as an undrafted kick returner.  The scout said that Locke’s speed was more impressive than expected, though it was far from a weakness, and he showed willingness to run between the tackles and play bigger than his size. 

– With another round of fan fire being lobbed against Jerry Tipton, this seems like a good time to point out something to a few of you who still haven’t picked up on this yet.  Our new writerNot Jerry Tipton is exactly that.  Not Jerry Tipton.  It’s a parody.  And, given the confusion of some, a pretty darn good one.  So, if you’ve sent me an email (and more than a handful have), please consider this your response.  It’s not Jerry Tipton.  It’s Not Jerry Tipton.

 – In other news, South Carolina’s Ramon Galloway cut his hair.  The Gamecocks responded by losing at home to Auburn.  I don’t think this is a coincidence.

That’s it for now.  Stay tuned throughout the day as we get you all set for Ole Miss and National Signing Day and everything in between.  Matt and Zach will be by at 10 am to get things started.  The fun will only continue from there.  Make sure you stick around.  See you in a few…

Article written by Thomas Beisner

47 Comments for Darius Miller’s Monday News and Views

  1. Kentucky14
    11:34 pm January 30, 2011 Permalink

    Maybe if Not Jerry Tipton added in some sarcasm or outrageous statements then no one would be confused…

  2. Jerry Tipton
    11:35 pm January 30, 2011 Permalink

    That’s me. That’s me.

  3. Dangle
    11:38 pm January 30, 2011 Permalink

    If I had a shirt that said I’m With Stupid, I’d stand next to #1. He’s having emailers remorse!

  4. Diller
    11:42 pm January 30, 2011 Permalink

    It’s: Not Jerry Tipton.

  5. Shootin' Blanks
    11:42 pm January 30, 2011 Permalink

    Juck Fipton

  6. Matt would care
    11:49 pm January 30, 2011 Permalink

    Albert Del Rio won the Royal Rumble tonight and gets a title shot at “Wrestlemania”….stunning!

  7. CalifCatFan
    11:50 pm January 30, 2011 Permalink

    Good morning, Mr. Breisner.

  8. LindaS
    11:51 pm January 30, 2011 Permalink

    Vote for Coach Cal… Help Samaritan’s Feet in their remarkable efforts! The Infiniti Coaches’ Charity Challenge. We still need votes, Cal is now up to 39% but little slick quick rick’s friend at Floridip is till winning. Come on BBN vote every day, pass it on to your friends and family. Don’t pass it on to botox mark and his band of merry men. Post it on your twitter and FB accounts…do it today, do it now. Winning coach/charity gets $100k. Vote everyday thru 3-11-11 Help Samaritan’s Feet in their remarkable efforts! The Infiniti Coaches’ Charity Challenge. Let’s vote! GO CATS! Thank [email protected]
    The Infiniti Coaches’ Charity Challenge

  9. John Cena
    11:54 pm January 30, 2011 Permalink

    I am wondering how many fans have bought tickets to Mania that will now want a refund after that “stunning” outcome? Seriously? Alberto who?

  10. Not Jerry Curl
    11:55 pm January 30, 2011 Permalink

    Let us all pray for the handful of people. Jesus help them

  11. bmt22033
    12:09 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    Totally unrelated to anything in this post, but I was just thinking about what next years team might look like. It’s my understanding that there are only 13 scholarships to go around. In theory, UK could be looking at a line up similar to this:

    Miller (senior)
    Liggins (senior)
    Vargas (senior; will he be back?)
    Hood (junior; will he be back?)
    Knight (sophomore; obviously there’s a chance he might go to the NBA)
    Lamb (sophomore; people seem to think he’ll stay for at least one more year?)
    Poole (sophomore; will he be back?)
    Polson (sophomore; back as a walk on)
    Davis (freshman)
    Gilchrist (freshman)
    Teague (freshman)
    Wiltjer (freshman)
    Beckham (?; is he a walk on?)

    Presumably, Jones will go to the NBA. Assuming all of those other people are back, that’s 13 players. Polson was apparently a walk on this year but since a scholarship was available, he got a paid ride this season. One could reasonably assume that he goes back to walk on status next season. That frees up one scholarship. I can’t find much on Beckham but what little I did see indicated that he’ll be a walk on, as well, and won’t be able to play until the spring of 2012. That’s another scholarship free. So assuming that everyone else is back and plays on a scholarship, that leaves unawarded 2 scholarships. I’ve heard that UK is still hoping to get a commitment from Trevor Lacey which would take one of those away. So that leaves one scholarship for an additional player or, like this year, it could end up being given to Polson (or another walk on) again.

    What do you guys think? Is there anybody else that UK is targeting for next year? Any expected transfers in or out of the program?

  12. bmt22033
    12:15 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    Oh, and I’d add that while there are some people who think that Lamb is the least likely to leave for the NBA after this season, I’ve also heard some people say that he makes no secret of the fact that he wants to get to the NBA as soon as possible. So I don’t really know how you’d gauge the likelihood of him being around next year.

  13. elstie01
    12:16 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    I can’t believe after the Bama game anybody says “Ole Miss likely won’t pose a threat to the Cats.” I don’t care if you said “likely” or not, just don’t say it at all. It’s a road game, you can throw the “likely’s” out the door.

  14. elstie01
    12:19 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    11/12, I don’t think we lose all 3 (Knight, Lamb, Jones) but you have to think atleast 2 are gone, and it is probably 50-50 to 60-40 that all 3 leave. Cal doesn’t try to keep them if they are at all prepared and I think we’ve seen glimmers that show us all 3 could easily go. Who thought Orton would go last year?

  15. Oliver Simmons
    12:22 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    10 – hahahahahahahaha.

  16. tim
    12:28 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    I’m so happy that Washington got upset tonight. I want everything that Emmert touches to fail, including the NCAA.

  17. DMiller
    12:35 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    By they way they didnt call a charge on that play either!!!!

  18. Snake Eyes
    12:41 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    Coach Cal has two final fours, both of which have been vacated.

    That is all.

  19. charlie
    12:43 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    I believe they call that picture “Nuts on Face”.

  20. bmac
    1:01 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    #18 – neither of which had anything to do with him so thanks for pointing out that he’s a heck of a coach.

  21. bigpapijugg
    2:53 am January 31, 2011 Permalink


  22. tdogg4033011
    4:58 am January 31, 2011 Permalink


  23. Snake Eyes
    5:16 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    I have, let’s see….NO final fours.

  24. Lex07
    5:19 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    What do you mean “all the nitpicking at Joker”? Who needs to nitpick?

  25. the truth
    5:23 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    thats snake eyes Darius is dunking on and he likes it!!!

  26. UKJay24
    6:09 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    I’ll say it again. We are out of the running for Jon Davis. We need to get a football insider on this site badly.

  27. KYtooBlue
    6:11 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    12) I agree. In fact Lamb is actually the best player on the team.

  28. mudcat
    6:33 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    18. No NCAA infractions for Cal…NONE!

    That is all.

  29. c pullem
    6:33 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    Jean shorts. Senior Day. Do it.

  30. Reality Check
    6:35 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    30) Hal Mumme and Eddie Sutton also have spotless NCAA records. What is your point? I guess you think those two were clean as well.

  31. cracka
    7:08 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    so … that’s how they got darius all fired up … they had him put on his old high school gear and dunk on polson a few times … hmmmm, whatever works i guess

  32. mudcat
    7:30 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    32) I don’t care about Hal Mumme or Eddie Sutton. You tell me what Cal has done wrong. I will wait all day, but I already know the answer…You can’t!

  33. mudcat
    7:43 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    32) I really don’t care about Mumme or Sutton. So if you think Cal is not clean, could you please give some examples of “his” dirty past. I will wait all day.

  34. J. Bones
    7:56 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    It looks like Miller is dunking on Polson in that picture

  35. kentuckyjoe
    8:05 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    He/she is not Jerry Tipton and he/she is also wasting space. Can her/him.

  36. TheTruth
    8:07 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    Sick of Calipari and lemming media (including this site) talking about Kentucky not finishing games because they’re inexperienced. I know there is a bit of truth to that.

    But of course, no one would dare stand up to Cal and ask, “Could it be that you only have a 6 man rotation? Could it be that you flat out refuse to play anyone from your bench? Could it be that your team is physically exhausted at the end of the game?”

    Watch any of the last few games and see that with about 6 or 7 minutes left to go in a game , this team either takes a one-pass jumpshot and/or tries to take the air out of the ball. They’re worn out.

    I realize there’s a significant drop off in talent. It’s irrefutable. But, you have to be a good enough coach to find places to to steal minutes for your top 6 guys. Hood and Poole may not be great, but if Cal didn’t have the Billy G “Pull them as soon as they make one mistake” mentality, maybe they could improve.

    I’m really concerned about what’s going to happen when UK has to play back-to-backs in March. Hope I’m wrong. Go Cats.

  37. I played college ball
    8:46 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    A 20 year old doesn’t need rest. I played 38 minutes per game and hated to come out. You have TV timeouts every 4 minutes, taking care of your body properly before and after the game is key. I don’t want to hear I am too physically exhausted being played!

  38. UK fan Image????
    8:47 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    26)… You give KY fans a VERY DISGUSTING IMAGE. You need help sir…We don’t need IGNORANT fans on here like this… Go away….

  39. bluesince66
    8:52 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    Trolls come on here and take cheap shots at Cal knowing someone will come to his defense. Just ignore the dumbasses and they’ll go away.

  40. Scared to be a fan
    9:00 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    The Truth…

    While I see your point, but do you realize OSU only plays 6 guys, sometimes 7. Everyone on their team averages 30+ minutes a game. The guys just need to realize they have to play for a full 40 minutes. It takes some mental toughness to play hard for 40 minutes, and cal is trying to teach them that.

  41. knightynight
    9:16 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    38) there are times for that. and that is practice. Don’t you think if he’s seen enough improvement in practice that he would put them in? Actually i believe he’s been trying your “advice” all season long.

  42. knightynight
    9:18 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    Sorry # 41 was meant for 36

  43. Jo Jo
    9:26 am January 31, 2011 Permalink


    I understand your point but if playing the bench causes the team to not play as well then what’s the point. If you play the bench and get behind or if you play the starters and they are tired but win?

    I agree about March if we don’t get a bye in the SEC tourney then we have no hope of winning.

  44. TheTruth
    9:40 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    39) define cheap shot? Someone who doesn’t believe everything you do about UK. Real fans ask questions. Trolls drink the kool aide.

  45. TheTruth
    9:47 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    40 & 45) agree with your points. However, I will say that 7 deep (OSU’s 7th guy is averaging 18.5 mpg)is significantly different than 6 deep. Just ask our team last year. Obviously, more talented then, but also not stretched as thin.

    The sole reason we can’t finish games isn’t mental toughness and maturity. That’s only part of it. and, IMHO, a small part of it.

  46. bluesince66
    10:19 am January 31, 2011 Permalink

    Well Truth I didn’t see anywhere in my post that says I believe everything about UK. Just that the same old things are brought up about Cal in about every section and someone always comes to his defense. When something new is put up refute it, when it’s the same old crap that’s been written a gizzillion times ignore it. Hope that wasn’t to hard to understand.

  47. NBA league pass
    1:29 pm January 31, 2011 Permalink

    Miller tried to cram one just like that on Saturday but got fouled. It was my favorite play of the game actually, seeing Liggins and Jorts coming over to him all fired up.