Ex-Cats

After 3 years in Germany, Darius Miller returns to NBA with more confidence, experience

Herald-Leader Staff Report

New Orleans Pelicans forward Darius Miller, center, drives to the basket between Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, left, and Serge Ibaka, right, during the third quarter in Oklahoma City on Friday, April 11, 2014.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Darius Miller, center, drives to the basket between Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, left, and Serge Ibaka, right, during the third quarter in Oklahoma City on Friday, April 11, 2014. AP

The New Orleans Pelicans confirmed Darius Miller’s return to the NBA this past week.

But the former Mason County High School and University of Kentucky star’s literal return to Crescent City is still on hold.

Miller, who previously played for New Orleans from 2012 to 2015, said in a Sirius XM NBA Radio interview on Thursday that for now, he’s working out in Cincinnati — about an hour from his hometown of Maysville. That’s because his wife, Brynne, is pregnant and the couple is soon expecting their second child, another daughter.

“I’ll probably be going down pretty soon, but I’ve got a baby on the way this week, so I haven’t had a chance to get down there,” Miller said, according to a report on Pelicans.com.

Miller has spent the past three seasons playing for Brose Bamberg in Germany’s top professional league. That squad won the league championship in all three of those years and Miller, dubbed “Killer Miller” for his accuracy from three-point range, was the Finals MVP in 2016.

Miller said he returns to the NBA a different player than the one who averaged 3.1 points and 35.1 percent from three-point range in 14.3 minutes during his first stint with New Orleans.

The additional playing time in Germany and being a focal point of his team’s offense benefited his game. Miller averaged 10.9 points and shot 41.1 percent from three-point range in 71 games this past season for Brose Bamberg.

“It’s definitely confidence, and being on the court, having game reps,” Miller said. “I was one of the main guys on the team, so I got a lot more shots, a lot more experience on the court. As I got more comfortable, the confidence came. It just turned out different.

“(Germany) was a really great experience for me. I got to add on to my game a little bit. I got a lot of experience on the court and playing at a high level. It’s been great for me to grow as a person and a player.”

Miller said he’s looking forward to joining fellow former Wildcats Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo in New Orleans.

He played one season apiece at UK with Davis and Cousins. The 2011-12 squad with Davis won the national championship. Davis and Miller were also teammates in New Orleans.

“I really enjoyed playing with both of them,” Miller said. “They’re both great guys. They’re both competitive, very passionate on the court. You can’t go wrong with two guys like that.”

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