[Moderated by Matt Jones]
With all of the talent that was on the team this previous season it’s easy to overlook some of the other guys who had just as important and big of an impact in getting us number 8. I get asked a lot who my favorite player is on a team at any particular time and it’s always hard for me to chose one. There’s different criteria each fan considers to determine who their favorite for that season was, some look at what the player accomplishes on the court, some look at what he accomplishes off, and some take both into consideration.
I’ve changed my mind this past season numerous times on who I fell in love with the most. It has been Anthony Davis, MKG, and with the season over I am finally settling on Darius Miller. You can make a case for any player on the team as to why they are deserving of being your favorite player, Ryan Lemond wrote an article on why his son chose Eloy as his that you can read here. Heroes and favorite players vary from each fan, but without a doubt, Darius Miller has proven himself to be mine.
1) Kentucky Boy: I may be bias to Darius because he’s from Kentucky, but he understands what this program means to the state and the fan base. Before he was a player and graced the court, he was a fan and graced the stands. Darius embraced Kentucky and the fan base throughout his entire time at UK. He played in what was the worst era in Kentucky basketball history and did so with a smile on his face, happy that he was wearing the blue and white. He didn’t give up and held out for better times that were to come. He cut the last of the net down when they won the championship and there wasn’t a better candidate. He saw and experienced what may have been the lowest of lows for Kentucky basketball, but also experienced the highest of highs.
2) Unselfish: Calipari said it and fans can see it, Darius is one of the most unselfish players I have ever seen. Calipari has said that he has never coached a more unselfish player and that has been evident these past 3 seasons. He has stepped up when he needed to step up and has taken a back seat to some of his teammates as well. He has always done what was in the best interest for the team as a whole, even if it wasn’t for the best interest for himself. He kept la familia in mind more so than himself.
3) Accomplishing His Dream: After having to suffer through the Gillespie years and finding success under Calipari, Darius, a Maysville and Kentucky boy born and raised is finally accomplishing his dream of potentially playing in the NBA and is doing this after receiving his college degree. I don’t remember a player I’ve had so much pride in then Darius Miller. He may not have shattered records like Anthony Davis or started a breakfast club like MKG, but the legacy he left here is just as great if not greater.
A player like Darius is once in a lifetime. Not only is he talented and accomplished what was asked and required of him on the court, but what he did off the court was just as spectacular. The person and player that he became while he was at Kentucky is something special and something that is definitely heroic. While the starting 5 deserve the praise they have been getting, Darius deserves to know just how much the fan base appreciates him and all he has done while he has been here. I can’t wait to see him play at the next level. Thank you Darius.
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