LEXINGTON, Ky. — Darius Miller says he'll avoid crying at Kentucky's senior night while fellow honoree Eloy Vargas notes the Wildcats expect to keep playing five more weeks.
With Kentucky's annual exodus of NBA talent it also may be the last time the Rupp Arena crowd sees talented freshmen Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague in person.
Sophomores Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones could also make themselves eligible for June's draft.
Those decisions will come later.
First, No. 1 Kentucky (28-1, 14-0 Southeastern Conference) faces Georgia (13-15, 4-10) on Thursday night when Miller and Vargas will earn starting nods.
"This is where the fun begins now," said Vargas, a 6-foot-11 forward who will start for the first time in his career against the Bulldogs. "You don't know what's going to happen. This is going to be a long season. We've got like five more weeks left."
The Wildcats are squarely focused on their goal of winning the school's eighth national championship and if they beat the Bulldogs and Florida on Sunday will become just the third team to cap a perfect regular season in league play since 1956.
But the questions of who will go beyond Miller and Vargas and who will stay will remain for several more weeks.
Kidd-Gilchrist caused a stir in the fan base when he said he was staying and graduating from Kentucky following the Wildcats' win over Vanderbilt on Saturday. Kidd-Gilchrist hasn't been made available to reporters since the comments, but did post afterward on Twitter: "I'm going to do what's ever best for me."
"It's always good to graduate," Miller said. "In Michael's case, he's in a very unique situation where he can change his family's life but at the same time he could stay here and have a great time. I know it has to be a tough decision for him. Either way I support him and think either decision would be great, whatever he wants to do."
It's been a long road for Miller, who endured the coaching change when Billy Gillispie was fired in 2009 and John Calipari took over the program. Miller has had 40 different teammates over his four seasons.
"In Darius' case, rough freshman year, new coach comes in, a bunch of new players, adapts, changes his game somewhat, accepts other good players and then responds and gets better every year," Calipari said. Miller "will be an NBA player, no doubt in my mind and there's no college player that's played with more NBA players than him."
Miller, averaging 9.9 points per game, has come off the bench as the sixth man much of this season after being a starter for 69 games as a sophomore and junior. He's had no problem accepting the role and has thrived late in games.
"He's responded for this team," Calipari said. "He's started some of the games, but I would imagine he will be, if he's not the sixth man of the year, you've got to show me who it would be. He's awful good."
Miller, from Maysville, Ky., has averaged 24.8 minutes this season, down from his junior year and up slightly from the previous two.
"It doesn't mean a lot to me," Miller said. "I have the same opportunities everybody else has. I feel like I'm playing the way I need to play. We're all focused on one thing: Winning the national championship no matter what the roles are."
Vargas, meanwhile, hopes to take a similar path as former Kentucky and current Knicks forward Josh Harrellson, who played sparingly before impressing scouts and earning a chance in the NBA.
"You don't know what's going to happen," said Vargas, who averages about a point and in seven minutes of action per game for his career. "Somebody could get in foul trouble, and I can come out and do the right thing and come out and make a play for the team and we can come out with a win."
- BYU defensive back transferring to Utah State
- Doug Robinson: A victory lap for Hot Rod Hundley
- BYU football: Cougars in talks with Wagner...
- Dick Harmon: How a simple decision in the...
- BYU sells close to 2,000 tickets for Miami...
- Blocking the net helped propel BYU to Final...
- Ready or not, Vegas: Here come the Utes
- Utah Jazz pick up rare road win against Miami...
- 4-star offensive line commit Kieffer... 67
- BYU has something to prove, looking to... 60
- BYU whips Weber State, gets a scare... 48
- BYU defensive back transferring to Utah... 42
- BYU sells close to 2,000 tickets for... 34
- Dick Harmon: BYU guard Tyler Haws the... 30
- BYU football: Cougars in talks with... 28
- BYU women's volleyball advances to the... 25