D1 Sports Training’s Bowling Green facility is quickly becoming Cats Country.
Darius Miller, a former University of Kentucky basketball standout and current New Orleans Hornet, was introduced Saturday as the second pro-athlete co-owner at D1 Bowling Green.
Miller joins Green Bay Packers receiver Randall Cobb, who played football at UK, as co-owners of the branch.
“I’m really excited. It seems like they have a really good thing going here,” Miller said. “It’s just a way for me to get involved with the community and give back to what helped me.”
Miller, a Maysville native and Kentucky’s 2008 Mr. Basketball at Mason County High School, hosted training sessions Saturday for D1 members of all ages.
“It’s a good thing to have to help out people, especially the younger people,” he said. “I really wish we’d had something going like this in Maysville when I was growing up. You can get kids on the right path, bring them in and help them make some good lifestyle choices. And the best part is that they’re enjoying it.”
Cobb hosted a similar event in June. D1 Bowling Green is also co-owned by Western Kentucky Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates.
Miller’s financial adviser made him aware of the opportunity, Miller said, but he was sold when he found out another former Wildcat was involved.
“He’s a good friend of mine,” Miller said of Cobb. “I’m happy for him. He’s doing great things, and he talked to me about it. I’m happy to be able to do something with him, too.”
New Orleans selected Miller with the 46th overall pick in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft. He finished his career at Kentucky with the school record for most games played at 152, including the Wildcats’ run to last season’s national championship.
Miller signed a two-year contract with the Hornets this month. He’s joined in New Orleans by former UK teammate Anthony Davis, the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft.
Miller is currently D1’s only NBA co-owner at its 17 locations.
The company will open an 18th location next week in Green Bay, Wis. Other co-owners include Peyton Manning, Chipper Jones and Tim Tebow.
Along with searching for a likable personality like Cobb, D1 was also actively working to add a basketball player in a hardwood-crazed state like Kentucky, according to Matt Toy, D1’s vice president of marketing.
“We want character guys who have extreme popularity in the market, and Darius and Randall fit that exactly here,” Toy said. “They’re solid guys who represent this state well.”
Miller, a 6-foot-8-inch small forward, will now have to prove himself in training camp, although he’ll benefit from the Hornets being thin at his position. He averaged 4.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in five games for New Orleans during the Las Vegas Summer League.
Training camp will begin in a couple of weeks, Miller said. The Hornets start the regular season Oct. 31 at home against San Antonio.
“All I can do is prepare myself to work as hard as I can,” Miller said. “I want to let them know I’m here and dedicated to the team, no matter what they need.”