After some prodding, Brian Long edged away from Kentucky's one-for-all team mantra and acknowledged that receiving a scholarship this season brings personal satisfaction.
"In general, it makes you feel better," he said. "Having a scholarship is huge for a multitude of reasons."
UK Coach John Calipari rewarded Long and the other walk-on from last season, Sam Malone, with scholarships in 2012-13. Of course, a scholarship eases the financial burden of sending a son or daughter to college. To get a "promotion" from walk-on to scholarship player also serves as a boost to a person's self-esteem.
Long described it as a combination of reward for a job well done during the last school year and an incentive to continue on the same course this school year.
"It shows you've got to work hard and you've got to continue to keep working hard," Long said. "And you've got to be successful on the floor and off the floor and in school. There's a lot of factors, but it all pays off if you work hard."
Long did well in the classroom in the 2011-12 school year. He said he had a 3.15 grade-point average (3.5 in the basketball-busier second semester). Malone also said he did well academically (3.9 overall GPA).
When asked about his role this coming season, Long noted how it could have an off-court — as well as on-court — component.
"I'm just trying to . . . better at everything," he said. "Between school, workouts, lifting."
Toward that end, Long continued working out even though he returned to his home state of New Jersey for a good portion of the summer. That included jogging on the beach during weekend trips to the Jersey shore on Memorial Day weekend, July 4th weekend and a week in August.
"I hate that," he said of jogging on a sandy beach. "I did it as much as I could."
Long also said that he did it because he knew he should not come back to UK for the fall semester after a leisurely summer.
"Having a good year under my belt, I had a feel for what was coming my way," he said.