Mason County senior fills up stat sheets

Yesterday we profiled incoming Kentucky recruit DeAndre Liggins, a versatile player who will bring a bit of everything to the Wildcats attack. Today we get the scoop on Kentucky's other signed recruit for 2008 – Mason County's Darius Miller, who like Liggins, has quite a few different clubs in his bag, so to speak.

Darius Miller, a 6-foot-7, 185-pound senior, heads into his district championship game with quite an impressive stat line: 20 points per game, eight rebounds, four assists, four-plus steals and four-plus blocks. He's also led Mason County to a 27-4 record.

"He's had an outstanding season for us. He's a very versatile player that can do a lot of different things and he fills up the stat sheet for us," said Mason County coach Chris O'Hearn. "He does a little bit of everything. He's just a super talent. He's 6-7, but he has the guard skills to play on the perimeter. He's also strong enough to go and play in the post."

Miller, who chose UK over finalists Illinois and Louisville, seems most likely to play the two or three spot at UK. He has started every single game of his high school career, which O'Hearn believes has never happened previously at the school. Tennessee star Chris Lofton may have been the closest, but he didn't make his way into the starting lineup until he scored 22 points in the second half of a game five games into his freshman year.

"He's a very unselfish player. He loves to pass the ball. Sometimes we have to get on him about looking to score, but he likes to pass more than he likes to shoot," O'Hearn said.

Miller has earned comparisons to former Florida star and NBA lottery pick Corey Brewer because of his length, versatility and defensive skills.

"He's an excellent defender and he likes to play defense, too. If you tell him to go shut a guy down and not let him get the ball, he'll go do that for you and won't worry about scoring," he said.

Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie has kept close tabs on Miller and has often expressed enthusiasm about how promising his future in Lexington is.

"Coach Gillispie came and watched him a week ago. I think they're very excited about him," said O'Hearn, whose school hasn't had a player sign with Kentucky since Deron Feldhaus in the late ‘80s.

Speaking of which, he also said in-state observers and coaches have been impressed with Gillispie's willingness to check out Kentucky talent.

"He's proven that he's willing to do his homework and look at Kentucky players. A lot of people think that if a kid is a good high school player, he's good enough to play for Kentucky, which isn't true. But he at least takes a look at them."

Miller also boasts a 3.4 GPA and qualified easily on his first ACT try.

"Just a very good student and a very good kid," O'Hearn said.

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