Darius Miller admits there is a difference between John Calipari’s first team and this year’s team, but likes the way both teams enjoy each other.
“It’s definitely different, (than last year), but at the same time, we have a lot of fun just like last year,” he said. “The way we play and the type of people we play are different, but we still have just as much fun.”
The Wildcats (9-2) play a pair of games this week, beginning Tuesday night against Coppin State at Rupp Arena, before closing out 2010 with a highly-anticipated showdown at noon on New Year’s Eve at Louisville.
Miller, one of the team’s five starters, is averaging 10.2 points per game, but scored a season-low four points in the team’s 89-52 rout over Winthrop last week at Rupp Arena. Although baskets were hard to come by against the Eagles, Miller grabbed nine rebounds, with eight of those coming on the defensive end of the court. He also dished out a pair of assists.
Although Miller remains a starter despite the impressive play of Doron Lamb off the bench, Kentucky coach John Calipari expects more from the former Mason County standout, especially in the scoring department. Prior to the contest against Winthrop, Miller scored 14 points against Mississippi Valley State, but has netted single digits in seven of Kentucky’s 11 games this season.
Calipari added that Miller needs to get stronger while on the floor.
“Darius has got to get a little tougher,” the Kentucky coach said, referring to a bump by a Winthrop player in the first half that almost sent Miller to the floor and a turnover while driving the lane in the second half. “You’ve got to be tougher than that. You’ve got to be stronger than that, mentally and physically. Now he wants to do it. He is such a great kid.”
Miller knows what his coach expects and said Calipari is consistently talking to him behind the scenes.
“Coach pushes me hard every game,” he said. “We talk a lot about what he wants from me and stuff like that along the way.”
Miller added that Calipari also motivates him in practice and during each game.
“Coach does it in practices (and) he does it in games,” he said. “Every time we are on the court, he pushes me. It’s just a consistent thing every single day.”