Vaught's Views: Weekend helps Miller's dreams come true
Darius Miller, center, and Marques Teague helped pass out awards during the Kentucky Derby Saturday. (Victoria Graff / May 7, 2012)
That’s why as someone who always thought Miller was somewhat under appreciated by many UK fans and predicted he would be the key to Kentucky’s 2011-12 season because of his leadership on and off the court, it was hard not to appreciate what the Mason County product did over the weekend.
First, he was part of the UK delegation that went to the White House and saw President Barack Obama on Friday
Second, he was one of the Kentucky players at the Kentucky Derby in Louisville that helped with the post-race presentation to the race winner on Saturday.
Third, he was one of the students recognized during graduation ceremonies at Kentucky on Sunday.
That’s a rare triple even for the player who became the first UK player ever to play on a Kentucky state high school champion, be named Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball and then play on a national championship team. Maybe that’s why it was only fitting that Miller not only presented a UK jersey to the president, but the No. 1 jersey was the same number that Miller wore for the Wildcats.
“He is a good kid and it’s great to see all his dreams come true,” said Brian Miller, Darius’ father, on Sunday after graduation ceremonies ended. “I can absorb it all because I know my kid is reaching his dreams.”
What was the best part of the weekend for Brian Miller and his wife, Nicole?
“Just all of it. It could not happen to a better kid,” Brian Miller said. “It was all so good. It would be hard just to single out one of those accomplishments.”
However, it wasn’t hard for Brian Miller to share his only disappointment from the weekend.
“It was exciting and nice to see him with the president, but I wish we could have been there. That was what was going on in my mind when I was watching (the White House ceremony),” Brian Miller said. “I wish I could have been there to take pictures and enjoy it. It was great for him, but his mom and I missed not being there.
“He is such a good kid that I¿always knew the sky was the limit for him. I¿knew there were no limits to what he could do. I just always prayed that he would have these kind of opportunities. He was excited about going to the White House and Derby, but he just acted like the same old Darius. The only time he’ll release a little bit of emotion is around us. But it was all exciting to him. I don’t think he can really get excited now and realize all he did. When he can sit back and reflect, he can do that but right now he can’t because he’s always on the go.”
That’s partially because he has to keep his game sharp for pre-NBA draft workouts. But it’s also because he’s been going across the state to sign autographs and meet fans. He’s not charged as much for autographs as some teammates and he’s also been more prone to sign every possible autograph at each stop.
“I am so proud that he is so well liked by fans. You always want your child to do better than you and God made a way for him to fulfill his dreams and still keep his character,” Brian Miller said. “He gives back and is a good kid.¿He has a good head on his shoulder. He cares about people.”
He does, and that had to make Sunday a bit emotional for the Millers to know their son’s college days officially were over after he got his diploma.
“I didn’t cry. I was just happy and excited,” Brian Miller said.
What about Nicole Miller?
“She is an emotional lady. I don’t think she has shed a tear yet, but the night is not over,” Brian Miller said.