Darius Miller isn’t happy. But he’s not leaving the Kentucky basketball team.
That’s the word from Brian Miller, the player’s father.
During UK’s victory over Central Michigan on Monday, television cameras showed Darius Miller looking unhappy on the bench. There’s been subsequent talk about Miller returning home to Maysville, which fueled speculation about him leaving the team.
“No, that’s not true,” his father said in a phone conversation late Tuesday evening.
When asked if his son was OK, Brian Miller said, “He’s doing fine. . . . He’s just a little frustrated. That’s all.”
When asked if Darius would hang in there, Brian Miller said, “Oh yes. He is. He’s going to.”
Kentucky has not said anything officially on the subject. UK Coach Billy Gillispie is not scheduled to meet with reporters until a news conference on Saturday.
Like many, if not all freshmen, Miller seems to be struggling with the adjustment from high school star to low man on the college totem pole. Last season he stood as high as any high school player in Kentucky can: He led his team, Mason County, to the state championship and was named Kentucky Mr. Basketball.
At UK this season, he’s dealing with a new role, limited playing time and a demanding and impossible-to-satisfy coach.
For UK, any speculation of a player’s unhappiness is potential poison on the recruiting trail. After the transfers of Alex Legion (to Illinois) and Derrick Jasper (UNLV), further player unhappiness feeds the perception of internal problems. It’s a perception rival recruiters are only too happy to perpetuate.
When asked about Miller after UK’s game against Central Michigan, Gillispie said the freshman had “a great attitude.” The UK coach gushed about Miller’s personality and demeanor while seemingly shedding light on Miller’s frustration about playing time.
“There’s not a better person that I’ve been around,” Gillispie said. “He’s probably too respectful (of) teammates. He’s got to be more competitive. He has to go take something from somebody.”