Darius Miller’s hometown excited for local hero



By Dan Collins

MAYSVILLE, Ky. — UK’s senior basketball star, a member of the No.1 team in the nation, achieved celebrity status in his hometown. But that was eight years ago.

Darius Miller has become well known in Lexington over the last four years, but 65 miles away in the town of Maysville, Ky., he has been a local hero for nearly a decade.

“Everybody really started talking about him when he was in the eighth grade,” said Hoss Sweet, a counselor at the Tom Browning Boys and Girls Club in Maysville. “Darius is a hometown hero.”

Miller was a regular at the club, Sweet said.

“He played a lot with the kids. Showed them how to shoot, pass and play defense,” Sweet said. “He’d walk in here and every kid here would run up to him.”

Sweet explained that Miller was a huge part of Maysville’s favorite pastime: basketball.

“Maysville is a basketball town,” Sweet said.

Miller helped lead Mason County High School to a state championship in 2008, and was named Kentucky Mr. Basketball the same year by the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation.

Miller wasn’t the first MCHS player to receive that title, however.

“Everybody always compared him to Chris Lofton,” said Jonathan Reynolds, a former classmate of Miller’s.

Lofton, also a graduate of MCHS, got attention in 2004 when he signed with the University of Tennessee, despite being named Kentucky Mr. Basketball his senior year.

Miller did not follow suit.

“Darius always wanted to go to UK,” said Brian Miller, his father.

Brian Miller played basketball at Morehead State University and said that he recognized his son’s abilities at a very young age.

“In his early years, he played with us and held his own,” Miller said. “His basketball IQ is off the charts.”

Darius Miller’s success on the court didn’t affect his attitude off of it, said Kathryn Pfeffer, another classmate.

“Everybody would crowd him in the hallway,” Pfeffer said. She was a freshman when Miller was a senior and said “he was ‘the guy,’ but didn’t really have a big ego.”

Even Brian Miller admitted his son was a local celebrity.

“Darius always got attention,” he said.

Brian Miller is Darius’ self-proclaimed toughest critic, but when asked to describe his son in three words, he chose “humble, shy and loving.”

But on the other hand, with so many supporters in Maysville, who lays claim to the title of ‘Darius’ biggest fan’?

“I’m just mom,” Nicole Miller said. “I try not to talk about basketball with him.”

Nicole Miller said that while she wasn’t a very big fan of the game, she couldn’t be more proud of her son.

“To see him accomplish his dreams, there’s nothing better,” she said.

Although no one can predict what the future holds for Miller and the UK men’s basketball team, Nicole Miller said that one thing is certain.

“I’ll be proud of him, no matter what.”