That Patrick Patterson took only seven shots in the exhibition against Campbellsville led Kentucky Coach John Calipari to implore the star big man to be more assertive.
Going into Saturday's game against Rider, Patterson was averaging only 9.7 shots.
That raises a question: Might the team-first Patterson benefit from more of a me-first approach?
ESPN analyst Jay Bilas cautioned against the notion that a bit of selfishness can be a good thing for a player.
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"I think he is one of the hardest workers and most relentless players in the country," Bilas wrote of Patterson in an e-mail. "I have never seen him take a play off. And if he didn't put up a number, it had more to do with his teammates getting him the ball than anything he did or didn't do."
When asked about Patterson's shots, Calipari did not point to his teammates. The UK coach put the onus on his All-America candidate.
"A lot of it is go get the ball," Calipari said. "Just go get the ball. How about go get an offensive rebound? How about sticking your nose in there and being a monster? It's not just running plays to him."
One factor seems to be Patterson still growing more comfortable as a perimeter player.
"I do like the fact that Calipari is asking Patterson to step out of his comfort zone a bit to expand his game," Bilas wrote. "Players can stay comfortably in roles to their detriment sometimes.
"It is like a plant. If you put it in a pot, it will conform to that pot and grow to the shape of that pot. Calipari is looking for Patterson to grow in some other directions. He can still be really effective with his main strengths, though."
As Calipari suggested repeatedly in the pre-season, Patterson will be posted at the basket in the closing minutes of close games.
As for the notion of a bit of selfishness, Bilas saw potential good and bad in a me-first attitude. A balance must be maintained.
"It is never selfish to work for and take a good shot," Bilas wrote. "If all five guys are working their tails off to get open for a good shot, the offense will run better and the team will be tougher to guard.
"Selfish players take or settle for bad shots, or take shots at the expense of others having much better shots. Selfish players take shots off of one pass before the defense has been given a chance to break down. Selfish players take contested shots early in the clock rather than open shots after making the defense work."
Coaches want players to be hungry to score, but not obsessed with statistics, Bilas wrote.
No one suggests Patterson is obsessed with statistics. He's unselfish, perhaps not to a fault.
The Hayes diet
Diane Cowen of the Houston Chronicle recently sat down with ex-UK standout Chuck Hayes, who now plays for the Houston Rockets. Here's an excerpt:
Question: You look pretty tall to me, but when you're out on the court you're actually one of the smaller guys. What do you do physically to make yourself stronger and faster than your opponents?
Answer: I run as much as I can and do agility work for foot speed. A lot of people think I lift a lot of weights but I don't. I don't want to be bulky.
Q: How much running?
A: Maybe a mile or so. In the off-season I start by wearing a weight vest and just run short jogs. Then I take the vest off and try to sprint. I do it for endurance.
Q: And what do you do for agility?
A: We work out with cones. Like those orange cones you see in driving tests. (Laughs.) It's a lot of stop-and-go and quick movement and we do it with resistance bands.
Q: You say you don't lift much weight, but your biceps are well defined. What do you do for that kind of muscle definition?
A: They're just like that and have been since I was in high school. We do some lifting. I work out with 20-pound kettle bells and do band work for muscle strength and core.
Q: Does all this training translate to anything else in your life? Do you have any sports hobbies?
A: Well, I just picked up golf, but I'm pretty bad. In fact, I played nine holes the other day.
Q: How'd you play?
A: I threw my scorecard away.
Q: Who or what motivates you to work this hard?
A: My son and my family. My son, Dorian, is 21/2 now and he finally gets it, that Daddy plays basketball, so that's neat. And we've gone through so much in my upbringing. My parents sacrificed so much for me and to watch me play. My dad used to go around to yard sales to find football cleats for me to play in. One of my younger brothers moved to Houston to be near me; he's a student at Texas Southern University.
Q: You've changed your eating habits dramatically recently. What happened?
A: I eat grilled everything. This past summer I changed my diet on the advice of our strength coach. I cut out potatoes. I cut out sodas and now drink water. Oh, and I eat sushi now.
No harm, no foul
The last-second loss to Kentucky on Monday did not take away the joy Miami (Ohio) Coach Charlie Coles felt for being in Rupp Arena.
"It's an honor to come in there," Coles said the next day in a telephone conversation. "I wouldn't want to do it every year. That's not good for you.
"But when I heard the national anthem and looked up in the stands, well, I'm 67 years old. My thing is, Thank you, Lord, for blessing me."
Then came a pointed question: Did Coles think a UK player fouled Rodney Haddix on Miami's desperation heave at the buzzer?
"Uh-oh," Coles said before adding, "I think he did."
Coles was not angry. "Nobody would have called that in our place, let alone Rupp," the Miami coach said. "I did wonder what the Kentucky player was doing (in the vicinity of Haddix, the former Scott County standout).
"I thought he was fouled. But maybe time ran out. I wasn't upset. ... You're not going to call that if there's any doubt. If there's five seconds on the clock, yeah, you call it."
Drive for Five
Former UK football player Wesley Woodyard bought 100 season tickets for UK women's basketball. The tickets were part of Coach Matthew Mitchell's Drive for Five campaign.
As part of Mitchell's Winning Tools campaign, fans buy 100 or more season tickets. Then the tickets are given to Central Kentucky children of eighth grade age or younger.
Woodyard became known as a fan of all UK teams when he played football for the Cats. He was a regular at women's basketball games.
To start the Drive for Five program, Woodyard bought 100 tickets at a discounted price of $18 each.
Woodyard now plays for the Denver Broncos.
More than once, John Calipari has noted that, at age 50, he's beyond the time when he felt the need to react to criticism.
But Cal's no milquetoast.
When ESPN came to town to televise the opener against Morehead State, the all-sports network asked to attend a Kentucky practice to do one of its all-access features.
Apparently still miffed about criticism from ESPN commentators, Calipari turned down the request.
In making his feelings known, Calipari and ESPN reporter Andy Katz had what diplomats call a frank exchange of views. Katz was not the offending critic.
In this case, UK's interest in getting its brand name national exposure was not paramount.
Cal's tweet power
Donations to the Kentucky Blood Center nearly doubled after UK Coach John Calipari tweeted about the Big Blue Crush early last week. Blood Center spokesperson Stephanie French said 726 units were donated. In a normal day, there are about 400 units donated, she said.
The 22nd Annual Big Blue Crush is a competition between Kentucky (Kentucky Blood Center) and Tennessee (Medic Regional Blood Center) tied into the annual UK-UT football game.
UK football coach Rich Brooks donated a pint during his weekly news conference on Monday.
Alas, Tennessee extended its winning streak to seven this year. The margin of victory was 76 pints.
The narrow loss marked progress. In 2008, Tennessee won by almost 600 pints.
After beating visiting UNC Asheville 124-49 on Tuesday, Tennessee went to the Virgin Islands and beat East Carolina 105-66 Friday in the Paradise Jam.
In his blog, Knoxville News Sentinel columnist Mike Strange noted that the 229 combined points marked the most ever scored by Tennessee in a two-game span.
It was also the first time since 1957-58 that UT scored 100 or more points in back-to-back games (not counting overtime games).
In February 1958, the Vols beat Florida 100-91 and then Mississippi State 104-83.
"Who knew UT was so prolific back in the '50s?" Strange wrote.
Many fans would think the Vols of Bernard King-Ernie Grunfeld would have scored 100 in back-to-back games. But the closest they came were in hitting the century mark in two out of three games in 1974-75.
Tennessee goes for three straight games of triple-figure points against DePaul on Sunday.
Former Tennessee center Austin "Red" Robbins died Wednesday in Metairie, La., after a 31/2-year battle with cancer. He was 65.
Robbins was named Helms Athletic Foundation All-America and All-Southeastern Conference by the league's coaches in 1965-66. In the next-to-last game of the regular season, the Vols gave Rupp's Runts their first loss.
Robbins, who was from Groveland, Fla., averaged 17.1 points and 12.6 rebounds in 1965-66.
Selected in the sixth round of the 1966 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, Robbins chose to play in the newly created American Basketball Association. He played for the New Orleans Buccaneers (1967-70), Utah Stars (1970-72), San Diego Conquistadors (1972-74), Kentucky Colonels (1973, 1974-75), and Virginia Squires (1975-76).
Auburn signs Kemp
One of Auburn's signees was Shawn Kemp, a 6-foot-10, 215-pound center from Canton, Ga., and the son of you know who.
His father, also named Shawn Kemp, was one of then UK Coach Eddie Sutton's marquee signings in the mid-1980s. But the elder Kemp got caught trying to pawn one of his teammate's necklaces and left before playing a game.
The younger Kemp is playing this season for Hargrave Military Academy, where he scored 21 points in a recent scrimmage against prep school power Oak Hill Academy. He averaged 12 points and eight rebounds and had 78 blocks as a senior for Cherokee County in 2008-09.
"Shawn Kemp has tremendous upside," Auburn Coach Jeff Lebo said in a news release. "... He is just on the first step of becoming a very good basketball player."
When Louisville played Arkansas in St. Louis last week, a familiar face could be seen near the U of L bench. It was former UK athletics director Larry Ivy.
Ivy also stayed and watched No. 1 Kansas play Memphis in the second game.
One of the event's organizers, former UK sports information director Brooks Downing, got Ivy the ringside seat.
To former UK assistant Herb Sendek.
In his fourth season, Sendek has guided Arizona State to a 4-0 start. The Devils are coming off the program's first back-to-back 20-win seasons since 1979-80 and 1980-81.
Arizona State plays in Madison Square Garden for just the second time on Wednesday in a game against Duke in the NIT Season Tip-Off semifinals.
To explain the good start, look at balanced scoring (five players average double-digit points), good shooting (49.4 percent from three-point range, 53.6 percent overall) and good defense (opponents shooting 33.9 overall, 29.3 percent from beyond the arc).
After going 8-22 (.267) in Sendek's first season of 2006-2007, the Sun Devils are 50-23 (.685) since.
To Rupp Runt Louie Dampier. Little Louie turned 65 on Friday.