Cats could debut new Nike uniforms against Volunteers on Saturday



The UK men’s basketball team (23-1, 8-1 Southeastern Conference) might be wearing some new threads in their game on Saturday against Tennessee, but not all the fans are happy about it.

“I am not a big fan of them,” former UK student Derek Combs said. “Honestly, I think it’s a little too cartoony for my taste – the design on them. The pants resemble swimming trunks to me. They’re just a little odd, there’s something off about them.”

UK athletics spokesman DeWayne Peevy said he couldn’t confirm or deny UK will don the new uniforms when they take on the Vols.

The fronts of the jerseys are very similar to UK’s current jerseys, but the new ones have a trim around the sleeves to give them a retro feel. The back, however, has a unique print of UK’s seven championship banners, Memorial Hall and a Wildcat face at the bottom that blends into a design that flows through the rest of the print. The shorts are blue with a large white rectangle on each side, with the home white jersey having a large blue rectangle on each side.

Daniel Owsley, a political science junior and Lexington native, said he wasn’t a big fan of the new jerseys and thinks the designs on the back are kind of ridiculous.

“I liked the old ones,” Owsley said. “I don’t really know why they got rid of them. We just had them for like a season-and-a-half.”

The new uniforms are Nike’s “Hyper Elite” uniforms and were developed for the Beijing Olympics. The U.S. men’s basketball team wore similar jerseys, which have engineered mesh that provides zoned cooling. Eight universities will debut in 2010 the Nike Hyper Elite basketball uniform.

The uniform designs on the back are unique to each school with Duke and Texas already sporting theirs, and Connecticut breaking theirs out Wednesday night against Syracuse.

Combs, like Owsley, thought it was weird to switch uniforms midway through the season, especially given how the other uniforms appeared.

“I think it’s bizarre to switch jerseys part way through the season, especially when the old jerseys were so well received from what I hear,” Owsley said. “I really liked them.”

Former Mr. Basketball not producing as before

UK sophomore guard Darius Miller is not producing the way he once was.

Miller, a sophomore guard and former Mr. Basketball for the commonwealth of Kentucky, has seen his minutes and point production decrease significantly in recent games.

UK head coach John Calipari has worked with freshman forward Daniel Orton and junior forward Patrick Patterson before practices earlier this season to work on specific needs. Calipari said Miller might be another person that he needs to do that with.

“Some of it you have to be a tough hombre and you got to work your way through it,” Calipari said after UK’s 66-55 win over Alabama. “You have to get in the weight room, you have to spend extra time, you got to get on the court, you have to get with your coach and keep saying, ‘Coach I’m telling you I’m going to be fine.’ You have to convince yourself and get in there and do it.”

Miller has averaged 11.2 minutes in his last five games and only one point. In UK’s previous 19 games, Miller played less than 11 minutes one time. Miller has come into the last three games off the bench after starting the Cats’ first 21 games, scoring five points in nine minutes against Ole Miss on Feb. 2, and has been held scoreless in UK’s last two games.

On Feb. 5, before UK’s game against Louisiana State, Miller said he wasn’t all that disappointed about not starting, as long as the Cats continue their winning ways.

“I really just try and come out and play the same way,” Miller said. “I really don’t look too much into it. We’re still winning games so I’m happy.”

Calipari said he told Miller and senior guard Ramon Harris that he wants them to improve and will do whatever he has to for them to play better.

“They listen. Those two listen too much to me,” Calipari said. “At halftime I told Darius, ‘Act like I’m not on the sidelines, just go play. Don’t even listen to me.’ And then DeMarcus (Cousins) said, ‘Can I do that too?’ ”