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Vaught’s note: Ashley Scoby, 18, of GlasgowÂ is a freshman journalism, marketing and international relations major at the University of Kentucky and was one of many fans who attended Darius Miller’s autograph signing at Wildcat Ford in Nicholasville Saturday. She shares her perspective on that event and hopefully will become a regular vaughtsviews.com contributor to give us a regular on-campus presence/perspective. She has worked for Kentucky Sports Radio College and the Lexington Herald-Leader. Enjoy her first vaughtsviews.com column.
By ASHLEY SCOBY
He walked in the building wearing a black sweatshirt with the hood pulled up, surrounded by security personnel – enigmatic, mysterious, and as inconspicuous as a 6â€™8, 235-pound man can be.
Ushered into an upstairs room, Darius Miller went largely unnoticed by the 200 or so UK fans anxiously waiting below. A few minutes later, the star was brought down in an elevator to the showroom of Wildcat Ford in Nicholasville, dropping his hood as he was jubilantly greeted by his admirers.
Having come straight from another signing that took place in Danville earlier that day, Miller ran about half an hour late, but that hardly affected the fans. The whole event underscored how special a player UK fans have been blessed with for four years.
As a UK student, I constantly see the athletes with the â€œjockâ€ mentality. I see, firsthand, athletes that donâ€™t go to class and donâ€™t do their work simply because they play a sport for UK. I see players blow off fans even when said athlete is not in the middle of something keeping them from interacting with people that want to meet them. I see the cockiness, the egos.
Darius Miller takes all of those ideas about athletes and stomps on them with his Nikes.
The fact that a college kid would get up early on a Saturday morning to go sit in a chair and sign things for hours is refreshing. As athletes, itâ€™s important for them to appreciate and respect the fans that adore them. Miller certainly is a prime example of how beautifully that relationship can flourish.
While Miller was the example that I personally saw on Saturday, the rest of the UK Draft Cats have, by all accounts, done the same. Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were in Hazard Saturday and ended up not getting to everyone that was present. Davis later tweeted that he had already planned another trip to Hazard to sign more autographs for the fans he had missed earlier. Terrence Jones, according to his own tweet, stayed an hour and a half past the time he was supposed to be at Lexington Sports Cards, just so everyone at the event could get an autograph.
Weâ€™ve heard it time and time again that this team was â€œspecialâ€ and thereâ€™s absolutely no doubt about it. The playersâ€™ autograph tours simply add to that degree of special, creating memories and firsthand experiences for fans that will last a lifetime.
College athletes across the country often keep a curtain between themselves and overzealous fans. As a contrast to that, itâ€™s great to see that UK players are able to drop the hood and interact with the people that love them like family.