The Kentucky Wildcats are treated like a professional team within the borders of the Commonwealth. Darius Miller thrived under the bluegrass spotlight the last four years and wouldn't mind continuing his basketball career in another state known for its passion for basketball.
"It would be a lot of fun, close to home. I feel like this is a nice place to be, so I'd really enjoy it," said Miller Thursday following a pre-draft workout with the Indiana Pacers.
Miller was the stabling force on a Wildcat roster that changed every year due to John Calipari's 'One and Done' recruiting-style. While Miller was never the star Wildcat, he could've very easily been the most important. His experience playing along side so many current NBA stars, and the leadership he showed makes him an intriguing prospect in the 2012 NBA Draft.
"I've played with a lot of pro's, both on the team and against them. We played against a lot of good teams, a lot of good competition," said Miller. "I've seen a lot of these guys play, I've played against a lot of these guys, so it's fun going up and competing against the best players in the country."
While some UK players are selected in the draft based upon their professional potential, Miller is more of a "what you see is what you get" prospect. The 2008 KHSAA Mr. Basketball played on college basketball's biggest stage for quite some time and has likely already proven his skills to scouts and front office personnel.
"They've seen me play for four years. They know pretty much what I can do. All I'm trying to do is come out, play hard, and let them see me in person," explained Miller after the workout.
Darius did compete against a familiar face Thursday. Vanderbilt's Jeffrey Taylor is another four-year player coming from an SEC-school, thus he has quite a bit in common with Miller.
"Obviously we came in together, we were freshmen together, we've played ever since. It's always fun to see familiar faces out there," said Taylor after the session.
Both Taylor and Miller were trying to make a favorable impression on Pacers president Larry Bird who watched the workout then shook each of the participants hands afterward.
"It was really an awesome experience. Just growing up, seeing films of him and seeing highlight clips of Larry Bird it is kind of surreal to meet him in person," said Taylor.
The 2012 NBA Draft is just two weeks away. Many of the prospects have a very crowded calendar as they continue to criss-cross the country in an effort to put their best foot forward and perhaps make their basketball-dreams come true. Darius Miller has already had a fairy-tale career, but hopes the story can continue with some good news June 28th.
"To even be a part of this (pre-draft workouts) to have them invite me here has been a blessing, something everybody who has played basketball has wanted their whole life," said a smiling Miller. "I'm just enjoying it, trying to go hard every single day, whatever happens happens."
Five Wildcats from Kentucky's 2012 National Championship team are expected to be selected in the first round of the draft. That list includes Pike graduate Marquis Teague. Miller could be the sixth to hear his name called by David Stern.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun