For most of the early part of the year, Kentucky fans have lamented Darius Miller's performance as not quite being up to his ability. After the Samford game, the UK senior's numbers began a decline that culminated in a big dip when the SEC season began.
We saw something similar last year, only about a month later in the season. Starting around the first of February, 2011, Miller's game hit a sudden rough patch and he went into a single-digit slump that lasted until mid-month, when he suddenly regained form and began a run that culminated in his being named SEC Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
Miller's rebound numbers are still down over last year, but as JLeverenz has correctly pointed out, he's playing more on the perimeter this year, and rebounding is less of a priority for back-court players, who have to concern themselves first and foremost with maintaining defensive balance.
3-point shooting, which had been a struggle for Miller early in the season, has really begun to rebound, and as Miller finds more of those shots going in, his confidence has obviously begun to soar, and he is becoming more assertive offensively. Miller has been in double-digits in his last four games in a row, and is one of the reasons the Wildcats seem to be finding their groove after some uneven games earlier this season, particularly in SEC play.
This chart has a nice trend line lately
I think every Kentucky fan has a special place in his heart for Miller, being the only player from the state who regularly gets playing time for UK during the Calipari era. I myself find myself always pulling for him, hoping for him to get more involved in the offense. He's always been a solid defensive player, so what I have hoped to see more of is getting himself open and playing the kind of basketball he did last year.
My wish appears to be coming true. Miller is returning to his late-season 2011 form, and this is just what Kentucky needs to be successful. It is possible to guard Kentucky when they have only one player, Doron Lamb, capable of making bunches of 3-point shots. But when Miller adds that second dimension, the Wildcats go from outstanding to spectacular, and they'll need that additional scoring punch more and more often as the SEC season gets tougher.