For Sam Malone, the future is, if not now, then fast approaching. He's a senior, so after this Kentucky season he will be at a crossroads.
What to do with the rest of his life? He recoiled at the thought of politics, the profession his father chose before moving to political commentary for a Boston television station.
"No, definitely not," Malone said of a political career. "That's not for me."
When asked why he rejected politics as even a possibility, Malone said, "I'm just not that passionate about it. My dad was involved in politics, and he's, like, don't go into politics. It's a tough business. It is crazy. Crazy. He doesn't want it for me.
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"He's been through it and seen how crazy it is. And it's not for me, and I agree. I don't want to do that either."
Joe Malone, a two-term state treasurer, was the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in 1988. He lost to incumbent Ted Kennedy. He befriended John Calipari when Calipari began his head coaching career at UMass.
Malone, the UK player, acknowledged the anxiety that comes with an unsettled future.
"Oh, it's a little scary," he said this summer, "because I just got back on campus and, oh man, I've got to figure out what I'm doing next year."
He had decided to enjoy the last go-around, even something as distasteful as speaking to reporters.
"Usually, I dread media day," he said. "But this is my last media day."
Perhaps to delay the ultimate decision about his future, Malone planned to apply to business schools. Of course, a role in basketball holds appeal.
"I, obviously, love the game," he said. Four surgeries hadn't made him put down a basketball. So, yes, basketball's hold on Malone is obvious.
Basketball occupied a part of Malone's summer. He said he taught some of the finer points of the game to a group of children in the Boston area. He made it sound more impromptu and fun than a calculated step toward fame and/or riches by instructors or pupils.
"I had about 10 kids," he said. "I said, 'C'mon, let's go play.'
Younger brother Charlie was in the group.
"Local kids in my town," Malone said. "'Hey, can you teach me a few things?' ... I'd work everyone from a 10-year-old autistic kid ... to a 17-year-old who will be playing college basketball someday.
"It was fun to give back in that way."
Malone tailored the instruction to each child.
"Just trying to help them improve," he said. "I love being in the gym, being on the court, so it was fun for me."
As a Kentucky player, Malone is something of a stranger in a strange land. The rooting interests in Boston little resemble what he's experienced in Kentucky.
"It's all about the pro teams," he said of Boston sports fans. "... No one really cares about college. They'll care a little bit, but it's all about the professional teams in the Boston area."
Malone has played in only 10 games, six of which came in his freshman season of 2011-12. His six career points came as a freshman.
Even with the multiple surgeries, his competitive spirit remains undimmed.
"I think with the injuries I've had, there were times I couldn't compete with anyone," he said. "... Right now, I feel as healthy as I've ever felt. And I feel if I wasn't on a team with such great players, I could compete with anyone."