Has Miller gotten over the hump?

Mrs. Tyler Thompsonover 10 years


miller2 The last three years have not been kind to Darius Miller. Named Kentucky's Mr. Basketball his senior year, Miller came to Kentucky with high hopes and even higher expectations. Enter Billy Gillispie, who made Miller one of his favorite whipping boys. The repercussions of Gillispie's psychological abuse lingered into Miller's sophomore year, when Miller was faced with a new coach and a freshman class full of talent. Aside from a few bright performances (at Tennessee, against Wake Forest in the tournament), Miller quietly sank into the shadows and went largely unnoticed on a team full of superstars. Fast-forward to year two of Calipari's tenure. The draft Cats have moved on to the NBA, and another talented freshman class is ready for the spotlight. If last year's team taught us anything, it was that extraordinary young talent flourishes when guided by trusty veterans, such as Patrick Patterson. Before this season started, Cal knew that for this team to succeed, the upperclassmen would have to step up. Harrellson flourished in the non-conference, but has struggled to establish a presence vs. SEC big men; DeAndre Liggins continues to be the best defender on the team; and Darius? Well, Darius has starred in his own production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Dr. Darius and Mr. Hide?). Darius has been consistently inconsistent this season. One low point was the Cats' loss at Ole Miss, in which Miller passed up a wide open shot with 21 seconds left in the game. Miller took to Twitter to apologize to the Big Blue Nation for his poor performance, and since then, has quietly shown signs of improvement. Over the last few games, Miller has achieved what some would call a breakthrough; against Mississippi State, Miller, who was questionable due to a groin injury, scored 13 points in 33 minutes, including three three-pointers, the most he'd hit since the North Carolina game on December 4th. Miller continued his sharpshooting against South Carolina yesterday, scoring a career-high 22 points in what was easily the best game of his career; eighteen of those points came from behind the arc. Miller also grabbed nine rebounds and blocked three shots. More telling to me than the stats was the sheer confidence Miller showed, a reassuring sight after three years of passing up open shots. Miller finally looked like the player Calipari and his teammates knew existed. "But where was Darius in the second half," you say. "The only reason he hit that many shots is because he was wide open," you moan. Okay, naysayers. I get it: Darius' first half clearly outshone his second. He had a two-minute defensive breakdown that got Calipari stamping and screaming. Defensive gaffes aside, you've got to admit that seeing Miller, a player that came to Kentucky with so much promise, finally play to his potential is inspiring. So, after the best game of his career, what say you, KSR nation? Has Miller gotten over the hump in his slump? Or was this just a really good game against a weak South Carolina team?

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