UK notes: Darius Miller says he's been rushing the three

Man-to-man defense likely from Samford

jtipton@herald-leader.comDecember 20, 2011 

  • Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky

    When: 7 p.m. Saturday
    Where: LP Field in Nashville
    TV: ESPNews
    Radio: WBUL-FM 98.1; WLAP-AM 630; WWRW-FM 105.5

Nobody had to tell Darius Miller Monday that he hasn't shot well from three-point range so far this season.

"I know," he said when a reporter noted his inaccuracy (24.2 percent).

"That's terrible, that's terrible," Miller said. "I definitely need to pick that up."

Miller, whose two three-pointers against Chattanooga Saturday marked only the second time this season he's made more than one shot from beyond the arc, voiced confidence that his stroke will return.

"It's going to turn around," he said. "I'm not worried about it. I still have confidence in my shot."

A career 38 percent three-point shooter going into this season, Miller said he believed he had been rushing his shot.

"I have to be ready to shoot at the beginning," he said. "I think I was overdoing it to an extent, trying to just hurry up and shoot, especially when I'm wide open."

Double-checking

UK Coach John Calipari noted how freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist double-checked on instructions as the team broke from a timeout huddle in the Chattanooga game.

"Marcus Camby used to do that," Calipari said in reference to his All-America big man at Massachusetts.

Calipari suggested other UK players besides Kidd-Gilchrist would be wise to make sure of instructions.

"There's no telling what they're going to do," Calipari said. "I may call an offensive play. They may set up on defense."

UK's star-studded roster might include players who are not conditioned to follow instruction, Calipari said. On the high school or AAU level, the plan might have been simply to get the ball and go for it.

'Princeton offense'

Samford's notes to the media included an alert to how Sports Illustrated referred to Coach Jimmy Tillette as "The Maven," a reference to his knowledge and use of the Princeton Offense.

In a telephone interview Monday, Tillette noted that there are many variations of the Princeton Offense. He said Samford had added enough athleticism to incorporate more drives to the basket than what might seem typical for a Princeton-style team.

But Samford will also look for the signature backdoor cuts and three-point shots. In the latest NCAA statistics, Samford ranked second nationally with an average of 10.7 three-point baskets per game.

In Tillette's 15 seasons as coach, Samford has evolved from a team that used a matchup zone as its primary defense to one that uses man-to-man almost exclusively.

Samford brings a 3-6 record, 1-6 against Division I opponents. The team is coming off victories against two NAIA teams: Lindsey Wilson and Spring Hill.

Tillette noted how Samford starts two freshmen and two sophomores. So, of the improved play recently, he said, "If any of that shows up (against UK), I have no idea."

Samford, which is in Birmingham, Ala., is a non-denominational, Baptist-affiliated school with an enrollment of 4,715.

Tickets

A limited number of tickets for the games against Samford, Loyola (Md.) on Thursday, and Lamar on Dec. 28 are available, UK said. Fans should go to the UK Ticket Office (9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) or call 1-800-928-2287. Fans can also go to UKathletics.com and Ticketmaster.com.

Student tickets are available for each game. They are $5 each (cash only) and limited to one per person (must be present at time of purchase). Any available tickets will go on sale 90 minutes before tip-off at Rupp Arena Box Office.

Three-year deal

Samford Athletics Director Martin Newton formerly worked on Calipari's UK staff. Hence, the three-game contract to play Samford. The games this season and next will be in Rupp Arena. The Cats will play Samford in Birmingham, Ala., for the third game. Newton saw the games as a chance to enhance Samford's profile, Tillette said.

Etc.

No. 3 Kentucky is Samford's highest-ranked opponent since opening the 2006-07 season at No. 1 (and defending national champion) Florida. Florida won 79-54. ... Mark Jones and Dan Dakich will call the game for ESPN2. ... Marquis Teague was named a Bob Cousy Award candidate Monday by The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The award recognizes the nation's top point guard, and the winner will be announced during the Final Four.

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