Darius Miller improving play: PART TWO)

Darius Miller has no trouble identifying the most improved part of his play during his time with the United States in the FIBA U19 World Championship Auckland, New Zealand.

"The last game (against Lithuania) he made a couple of pull-ups in the lane, made a running one-hander and made a 15-footer. He can get out in transition. He gets on the glass. He does a good job picking his spots and knowing when to shoot or drive the basketball.

"His versatility puts guys in a bind. If you put a big on him at the 4 (power forward), it is a hard match for the European teams because they do not have the athleticism and versatility at that position. He has shown a little bit of everything for us even though we have played him primarily at the 4 to take advantage of his versatility." Miller already knows he would welcome the opportunity to play on another USA team.

"It has been fun to play and see the world," he said. "I definitely think it has made me a better player by facing such great competition and will certainly help me with the upcoming season at Kentucky."

Painter has seen Miller's confidence grow from the time the tryouts started to now.

"He really came on at the end of the trials and earned his way on the team," Painter said. "When he picks his spots and knows when to be aggressive and when to move the ball, he's very effective.

"It's just hard to have confidence when you do know you are not going to play the entire game. Good players want to play and we just have too many good players for anybody to play 75 percent of the time.

"But there's no doubt he has really helped us in a couple of opportunities in close games. Sometimes it is easy to play well in a blowout game, but he's really come through in close games and helped be a deciding factor. That's what the best players do."


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