Remember the time Tyler Ulis stood up to DeMarcus Cousins ... ?
Who knows how many future Kentucky basketball conversations will begin that way. This David-and-Goliath confrontation already fascinates, and Ulis has yet to play a college game.
Ulis, who stands 14 inches shorter and weighs 115 pounds less than Cousins, embodied UK Coach John Calipari's refuse-to-lose mantra. Playing in a pickup game on a visit to UK last year, he called a foul on his drive to the basket.
Cousins, as UK fans recall is hardly the retiring type, insisted there had not been a foul.
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"We argued back and forth about the call for a couple minutes," Ulis recalled. "Everybody walked to the other end."
That signaled that might, in the form of the imposing Cousins, made right. Or maybe the players believed a seniority system ruled: Cousins' status as an NBA player trumped any high school player.
Yet Ulis and fellow freshman-to-be and longtime friend Devin Booker stayed put. "We were just trying to wait for our call," Ulis said. "... Nothing really went through my mind. It was just the fact I called a foul. Respect the call."
Did fear enter his thoughts? "No," Ulis said. "Not at all."
Ultimately, play resumed with Cousins' team having the ball. Ulis did not get the call. "Of course not," he said.
But Ulis made a larger point about not backing down.
"I didn't see it," Calipari said of the Ulis-Cousins debate. "But I could imagine it happened."
What's hard to imagine is Calipari not approving of Ulis' competitive spirit.
Ulis, who is listed at 5-foot-9 and 155 pounds, said that people have long judged him too small. "All my life," he said. Supposedly too small to play high school basketball. Certainly too small to play major college basketball.
Why didn't Ulis accept this judgment?
"Because I love the game," he said. "This is what I want to do. So I can't just defer to what people say. I just have to go out there and do what I know I can do best."
During the recruiting process, Calipari encouraged Ulis to not "defer" to anyone's opinion that an NBA playing career is out of reach.
"If you don't plan to be an NBA player, don't come here," Calipari said he told Ulis. "Don't let me hear all these people say, '(Calipari) has finally got a four-year point guard.' I don't want to hear that crap."
What Calipari wanted to hear was how to get the most out of Ulis. "I've never coached a guy this small," he said.
So Calipari sought perspective from Isaiah Thomas, the former University of Washington guard who now plays for the Phoenix Suns. How does Thomas, who is listed at 5-9 and 185 pounds, contribute as an NBA player? His advice: as much as possible, stay on the perimeter and harass opposing players. From 15 feet on into the basket, size increasingly dictates.
"I said, 'How many of you guys get posted?'" Calipari said he asked Thomas. "He said, 'There's not a post-up point guard in the NBA. So you don't have to worry about it.'
"Think about that."
Ulis said his father is 6 feet tall. A 12-year-old brother is 5-6 and growing.
"God blessed me with my height," Ulis said. "He blessed me with a lot of other things, too. I just have to live with it."
For what it's worth, Ulis said his favorite former Kentucky player is one of Cousins' former teammates here: Eric Bledsoe.
"Because he was the smallest guy they had ... and just how he played," Ulis said. "He was quick and aggressive."