Fifteen Miller college teammates are on NBA rosters
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
For most NBA players, the chance to play against a former college teammate is a rare, pleasant diversion during the lengthy 82-game season, an opportunity to catch up and renew acquaintances with an old friend. For former University of Kentucky small forward Darius Miller, though, “rare” won’t be a word anyone uses to describe the occurrence in 2012-13.
After playing four years in college for the ultra-successful Wildcats – capped by a 2012 national title – the 6-foot-8, 235-pounder now has a staggering total of 15 NCAA teammates on NBA rosters. That list currently consists of members of 12 different opposing NBA teams, including key 2011-12 UK contributors Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte), Terrence Jones (Houston), Marquis Teague (Chicago) and Doron Lamb (Milwaukee).
It won’t take long for Miller to see multiple familiar faces during the regular season. In the Hornets’ second game on Nov. 2, they host Utah (Enes Kanter). The next night, they’re in Chicago (Teague). In New Orleans’ fifth contest Nov. 9, the club will take on Charlotte (Kidd-Gilchrist). “Almost every game,” Miller described of the situation, laughing.
The 22-year-old views his extensive network of friends around the league as a blessing, saying it has given him one advantage as he embarks on his professional career.
“I feel like it’s helped me a lot,” he said of being close with so many active NBA players. “A whole lot. I keep in contact with all of them. They tell me little things that they think I need to do, or things to look out for. It helps me even off the court. It’s actually more life advice than basketball stuff from them, honestly. They’ve been through this before. They’ve lived this and played in the NBA.”
With NBA training camps opening in less than two weeks, perhaps the biggest question regarding Miller’s rookie year revolves around his potential role. Will he be in the rotation? Will he play substantial minutes? With so many new players on New Orleans’ roster, it appears much will be decided over the next month.
“I’m not necessarily saying I’m going to get a lot of playing time or that I’m even going to play, because like you said, nobody knows that yet,” Miller assessed. “I approach training camp as something that’s going to get me ready for what the season is going to be like. I’m using it to be prepared. The coaches are going to teach me a lot of new things to get me ready.”
Darius Miller’s Kentucky college teammates in NBA
Eric Bledsoe, L.A. Clippers
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento
*Anthony Davis, New Orleans
Josh Harrellson, Miami
*Terrence Jones, Houston
Enes Kanter, Utah
*Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte
Brandon Knight, Detroit
*Doron Lamb, Milwaukee
DeAndre Liggins, Oklahoma City
Jodie Meeks, L.A. Lakers
Daniel Orton, Oklahoma City
Patrick Patterson, Houston
*Marquis Teague, Chicago
John Wall, Washington