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December 20, 2011

Miller can't find the range on three-point shot

It's Terrence Jones who is injured, but it's Darius Miller's shot that's hurting.

Kentucky's senior forward has made just 8 of 33 3-point attempts on the season. That's 24.2 percent, by far the lowest percentage of his career and the lowest on the team.

"That's terrible," Miller said. "I definitely need to pick that up. It's going to turn around."

Kentucky head coach John Calipari said Miller needs to improve his three-point shooting after he went 2-7 in Saturday's win over Chattanooga. Miller has had only one other game this season in which he's made multiple 3-pointers. He went 4-5 from long range against Portland on Nov. 26, but is shooting 14.2 percent from deep otherwise this season. He was 0-3 in Kentucky's loss to Indiana.

Miller isn't too concerned with his shooting, though it's something he's focusing on now. He says he's found a mechanical problem with his shot that he should be able to iron out in the coming weeks.

"It's definitely not mental," he said. "I'm not worried about anything. I just need to take a little more time and shoot my shot."

Early in the season, Miller tried to stress being prepared to shoot as soon as the ball got to him. He got used to a quick-trigger release to try and get his shot off. He may have taken that approach too far, he said.

"I think I was overdoing that, hurrying up and trying to shoot," Miller said. "Especially when I'm wide open."

Miller has spent extra time in the gym recently to try and correct his shot. Getting those extra reps should break him of the glitch in his form and resurrect his shot. One thing Miller isn't worried about is his confidence. He shot 44.3 percent from 3-point range last year and before his slump this season was a career 37.9 percent 3-point shooter.

"I always feel comfortable," Miller said. "It's just not going in."

Jones still recovering
Jones, who dislocated the pinky finger on his left hand in last Saturday's win against Chattanooga, was not expected to practice on Monday and his playing status for Tuesday's game against Samford was questionable as of Monday afternoon.

Calipari said he didn't expect Jones to start against Samford if he's able to play.

"It's still swollen and black and blue, but that stuff's all right," Calipari said. "It just takes time, but he'll be fine."

How the other half lives
Calipari has made no secret of his admiration for UK women's basketball coach Matthew Mitchell and the job he's done with the eighth-ranked Wildcats.

And there was perhaps a hint of envy as Calipari recounted a conversation this week with media relations director DeWayne Peevy about Mitchell's team's loss at Notre Dame on Sunday.

Calipari noted that because of the way he's constructed his team - with star players likely to jump to the NBA after one or two seasons - he can't have the same long-term approach as Mitchell.

"(Mitchell's) got to be thinking, 'For the next three years, we're going to be all right,'" Calipari said. "And DeWayne and I were talking; it puts it back on us. It's like a one-year run, so there's a sense of urgency that maybe I wouldn't have… if it's, 'OK, next year and the following year and, boy, that next year are we going to be good.'

"That's not the case here. In short order, we've got to get these guys going."

Mississippi State NEWS


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