Kentucky forward Darius Miller expects the same results from the Wildcats this season, but in a much different way.
Even though the roster is minus five first-round draft picks and features seven new players, Miller thinks the Wildcats will be just as successful despite the cast of newcomers. That's a tall order, considering the the team went 35-3 last season, capped by an appearance in the Elite Eight.
Miller remains confident the Cats can be equally successful.
"I think we'll be able to get it done just like we did last year, just in a different way," Miller said last Thursday during the team's annual Media Day festivities at the Joe Craft Center. "We're probably run more of the dribble-drive offense, because we really didn't have to run it last year when we had DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson and Daniel Orton on the block. We'll have a different style, but we'll get just as much done."
Miller, a junior, is one of five upperclassmen on the team's roster and will be counted on to provide leadership on John Calipari's second team as coach of the Wildcats.
Miller welcomes the opportunity.
"I'm definitely trying to step up into that role and be a leader, because I have experience under coach Cal," Miller said with a smile.
Calipari believes that Miller definitely "is going to lead" and expects the Mason County product to be consistent on a regular basis instead of riding the wave of an emotional roller-coaster during the season.
"We need him to be a catalyst--a guy who makes plays when they matter," Calipari said. "A guy that comes every day, and it's more consistent than it was a year ago. (Last year) there were other games that it was like 'come on, man.' So if you're going to be a catalyst, our team has to know you show (up) every game. It doesn't mean you make every shot, it means you have the same kind of mentality every time you play, and you figure it out however you feel."
Entering his third season with the Wildcats, Miler has become used to the high expectations placed on the team on a consistent basis.
"Growing up in Kentucky, it just seems like every year Kentucky teams have high expectations, so I am kind of used to that," he said.
Miller also is used to what to expect from Calipari and said the team's crop of upperclassmen are prepared to take the next proverbial step and added that the adjustment for the newcomers will be an easy transition.
"We've been here before and we know how everything is going to be handled," Miller said. "Coach Cal is going to make it a lot easier than I think some coaches would. He recruited a great bunch of guys and not just players and makes it a lot easier too."