UK Men's Basketball

Miller starts out season on subpar note

As opening performances go, it was more like the maiden voyage of the Titanic for former Kentucky Mr. Basketball Darius Miller.

He had almost as many turnovers (five) as points (0), rebounds (three), assists (three) and steals (0) combined in Kentucky's victory over Morehead State Friday night.

That followed a quiet exhibition schedule that saw him average 7.5 points and 3.5 rebounds.

Teammate Patrick Patterson suggested that Miller needs to clear a mental hurdle.

"Probably one play's affecting him and then another play's affecting him," Patterson said. "Basically, it's a mental thing."

When asked about Miller, UK Coach John Calipari offered no elaborate explanation.

"He just wasn't very good," Calipari said before adding, "He's a good player. When he had shots, he took them.

"But I didn't think Darnell (Dodson) played much better."

Calipari noted "four or five" bad shots taken by Dodson. "Do you think this is AAU?" the UK coach said.

Calipari also put the sub-par performance label on freshman DeMarcus Cousins, who fouled out in 18 minutes, and senior Perry Stevenson, who had four points in 14 minutes.

Bledsoe's record

Eric Bledsoe set a UK record for points by a freshman in his collegiate debut with 24. Sam Bowie had the old record, 22, against Duke in the 1979 Hall of Fame Classic.

The next three highest scoring debuts by a UK freshman are by Rex Chapman (18 against Austin Peay in 1986), Rodrick Rhodes (16 against Wright State in 1992) and Antoine Walker (15 against UT-Martin).

Presumably, John Wall will threaten those marks when he makes his belated debut against Miami (Ohio) on Monday.

The UK record for a varsity debut is 28 points, by sophomore Mike Casey against Michigan in 1967.

When asked for his thoughts on Bledsoe, Morehead State Coach Donnie Tyndall said, "If John Wall is better than him, wow! He is something else."

No cover boy

The John Calipari era of Kentucky basketball began without the new coach's picture on the cover of the opening-game program.

UK spokesman DeWayne Peevy said he decided to have only players or the Wildcat mascot on game programs this season. Calipari had no objection, Peevy said.

The Wildcat mascot was on the cover for the Friday night game against Morehead State, Calipari's first as UK coach.

The coach's first game did not pass without some sort of recognition. His picture was on the game ticket, Peevy said.

Etc.

Patterson received a ceremonial game ball before tip off in recognition of reaching the 1,000-point career total last season. Calipari said Patterson needed to get in better shape. Patterson agreed. "I was OK in the first half," the big man said. "In the second half, I started to get winded." ... The crowd of 24,338 was the 11th largest in Rupp Arena history. ... UK improved to 88-19 in season openers.

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