Where Does Darius Miller Rank on Kentucky’s Fan Favorite List?Posted by Brian Joyce on January 4th, 2012
Darius Miller became the 58th player to join Kentucky’s 1,000 point club on Tuesday night. His 15 points against Arkansas-Little Rock pushed him up to #56 on the Wildcats’ all-time scoring list. As a Kentucky native and fourth year player, Miller should be higher than 56th on Kentucky fans’ all time favorite players list, right? However, the 6’7″ senior has drawn the ire of much of Big Blue Nation with his inconsistent and often frustrating play, earning him the nickname of “Disappearious Miller” with certain sections of the fanbase.
His rank, as far as scoring is concerned, is clearly defined amongst UK’s all time greats. What is less certain, is where does Miller stand as far as a UK fan favorite?
“It’s an honor to be a part of something like this, especially in the type of program that we are in,” Miller said after the game regarding his recent inclusion in the prestigious scoring club. “It feels good and I’m excited about it. I am just blessed be a part of something like this.” But Miller isn’t done moving up the ranks. If he continues his current average of 10.6 points per game as a senior, he would score 169 points throughout the remainder of the regular season. Let’s assume that the Wildcats advance to the SEC Tournament championship giving him three additional games and 31 more points. That would put Miller at 1,210 career points and land him at #40 all time on Kentucky’s career scoring list between UK fan favorite Chuck Hayes and the oft-maligned Rodrick Rhodes. Fittingly, somewhere between all-time great and cursed and forgotten may be Miller’s unfortunate place in Wildcat lore and fans’ hearts as well. If UK were to meet its expectations of competing for an eighth national title, Miller would play an additional six games giving him an additional 63 points. That would put Miller at #32 all-time. Not bad for a kid from Maysville, Kentucky, coming off the bench for teams with loads of future NBA players.
Darius Miller has won the SEC Tournament MVP, helped take his team to a Final Four, and scored 1,000 points in his career. Not to mention that by the end of his playing time he could surpass 500 rebounds and could also crack the top 20 in assists with nearly 300 for the Wildcats. In fact, Miller could join former greats Hayes and Tayshaun Prince as the only players in Kentucky history with at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 250 assists, 100 blocks and 100 steals in their careers. Miller’s long list of accomplishments have cemented his spot in the Kentucky record books, yet that hasn’t gotten him out of the doghouse with the Big Blue Nation. What will it take for Miller to win over the Kentucky fanbase? Better and more consistent play to finish out the year? Helping the team win a National Championship? Or is he doomed to join the likes of Rhodes, Rajon Rondo, Joe Crawford and Randolph Morris (among others) as players who accumulated solid statistical numbers, but never completely met UK fans’ expectations in their careers?