During a scrimmage on Saturday, Kentucky freshman DeMarcus Cousins did something seemingly reasonable and unremarkable. He took himself out because he was tired.
"We gave him a standing ovation," UK Coach John Calipari said on Sunday. "That's what you do. They don't know."
In continuing preparation for Monday's exhibition against Campbellsville and the season that follows, Calipari noted how he's having to take nothing for granted.
"This team is going to be more me teaching how to win mentally," Calipari said. "How to prepare (and) how to think than it's going to be 'here's a drill' and 'here's a play.'
"We're just so young, and they don't know. You're teaching everything. How to act in this situation. How to approach practice every day."
Calipari said he's told the players they risk playing time by not bringing the proper urgent attitude to each practice and maintain it from start to finish.
To make the point, Calipari defined discipline. "Do things you don't want to do and do them well so you can do the things you want to do to reach your dreams.
Rebound with two hands. Play "vicious" defense. Be mindful of taking quality shots. "If the game's on the line, is that the shot you take?" Calipari said.
Freshman Daniel Orton said the coach repeats this message again and again.
"Coach Cal talks about it every day: young, immature players," Orton said. "It's one of the biggest weaknesses we have, to tell you the truth."
Orton suggested the weakness is part of the natural progression from high school star to college contributor.
"We've never really had to fight for a position," he said. "In high school, you were promised playing time."
Added senior Ramon Harris, "Some of the guys are not used to practicing like this every day. My high school team, we didn't practice on the weekends. In college, you practice both days, Saturday and Sunday."
Plus, Calipari said, the veteran players have to learn how to take the proper approach.
Toward that end, the coach said he's shown the players video clips of his high-achieving teams at Memphis.
The good thing is Kentucky has plenty of time to learn. After all, the Cats are playing their first exhibition game Monday night.
"I don't need us December 15 ready," Calipari said. "But I do need them to be November 1 ready."
Miller at point?
With heralded freshman John Wall sitting out the exhibition against Campbellsville, Kentucky may start sophomore Darius Miller at point guard, Calipari said.
When asked who would back up another freshman, Eric Bledsoe, at the point, Calipari said it would be Miller.
"Or he may start," Calipari said of Miller, a former Kentucky Mr. Basketball from Mason County.
Miller has played the wing almost exclusively for UK. But Calipari said he had noticed that Miller's play improved when he had the ball.
"He's like Tyreke Evans," Calipari said, referring to the star freshman he had last season at Memphis. "When you put the ball in his hands, he's much better."
Miller said he had not played much point guard during practices, but he sounded confident of playing the position in an emergency.
The expected starter, freshman John Wall, will sit out the Campbellsville exhibition as part of his penalty for having an agent, his AAU coach Brian Clifton, pay for some expenses during the recruiting process.
Depth and size
Campbellsville cannot match UK's size and depth.
"We'll play 10 guys," Coach Keith Adkins said. "You'll see six or seven noticeably better than three or four that come in on down the line."
As for UK's size advantage, Campbellsville will play a 6-4 post player at times.
"That will be heaven," said Orton, who noted how practice means intense competition against players his own size for the first time.