Twany Beckham hopes that experience, even if it consists merely of living through last season as a seldom-used reserve, can be beneficial.
If so, he says, it's a better, more grounded Beckham that returns to Kentucky for his senior season.
"I just got more mentally tough," he said of his cameo role last season. "I've always been a tough guy. But the struggles I had last year not getting any minutes kind of humbled me a lot. It made me work even harder knowing the obstacles I have to overcome."
Because he grew up in nearby Louisville, and maybe because he came to UK having previously played at the Division I level, Beckham had expectations of a greater role when he became eligible at the semester break.
"I hoped I'd be on the floor a bit more," he said this pre-season, "and show what I could do."
Beckham acknowledged that family and friends carried similar — if not grander — expectations. Certainly, they expected more than an average of 2.8 minutes, no points and two assists.
"Expecting me to play in big-time games and in nationally televised games," he said. "When you're not getting in games, a lot of people are saying this and that about you."
Beckham said he tried to tune out the basketball opinions of family and friends. Similarly, he suppressed his own emotions.
"That's what I was trying to control is the negative thoughts coming into my mind," he said. "About not playing and having negative thoughts about the team."
Longtime friend and former UK star Rajon Rondo offered perspective. "Keep working," Beckham said of Rondo's advice. "You never know what could happen."
Cheering his teammates' accomplishments helped ease the psyche burden. So did one other factor. "We were winning," he said.
A new season brings new possibilities. A new Beckham finds himself in a better position. He's not the transfer (from Mississippi State) who must sit out the games in the fall semester.
"I feel a lot more comfortable ... knowing I have a full year to play," he said. "I don't know what my role will be yet. But I feel whatever role I'll be given, I'll be more comfortable, and when I'm on the floor be able to do it better."
Jerry Tipton: (859) 231-3227Twitter: @JerryTiptonBlog: ukbasketball.bloginky.com