The question caused Willie Cauley-Stein to shake his head from side to side. Then he needed only one word to answer with a declarative sentence.
The elder statesman among Kentucky's big men acknowledged Thursday that he's not playing as well as he'd like nor especially enjoying the experience.
"I've just not been playing like I should be playing," he said. "Just not scoring. Not playing defense like normal. Stuff happens. I don't know. Just got to get back to it."
If he can put the fun back in playing, he'll again be a highly productive player, Cauley-Stein said.
By his own reckoning, Cauley-Stein was having fun earlier in the season when he was mentioned as a possible national Player of the Year candidate. He hasn't had as much fun lately, In the last three games, he's blocked a total of one shot while averaging 6.7 points and 4.0 rebounds.
When asked to describe the difference between then and now, he said, "I feel like I'm having fun. I look like I'm having fun. When I'm not playing good, I don't look like I'm having fun. That's the biggest part of it."
Cauley-Stein turned philosophical about his recent dip in production.
"As the season goes along, you start to get wear and tear," he said. "Now, I'm trying to get back with what got me so high up, and keep building off it."
Cauley-Stein linked the fun (or lack thereof) to production on the court (or lack thereof).
"You're getting beat off the dribble like you never get beat off the dribble," he said in describing the times that are not fun. "Or you're missing shots you hit 63 percent of the time."
UK Coach John Calipari used another sport to explain how Cauley-Stein can have fun again.
"It's kind of like you're in a boxing match," Calipari said. "You walk in and the other dude is knocking you around. It's just not fun. And if you're moving and sticking, and in and out, and talking, you say, 'Yeah, am I having fun.' Yeah, because you're being the aggressor, and you're beating him up. If you're standing there and you're not the aggressor, it's not fun. It's hard."
Calipari reminded reporters that former UK star John Wall noted how he wasn't having fun at one juncture of his All-America season of 2009-10.
"No kidding," Calipari said. "This stuff is hard. It's hard. But world-class athletes figure out how to enjoy all of this. And we're trying to get these guys to know that."
A return to fun and productive play is not difficult to achieve, Cauley-Stein said.
"It just depends on how your body feels (and) how you feel," he said. "Some days you just don't have it. Some days your body is worn out and you can't do stuff you can do when your body is fresh."
Calipari said Cauley-Stein has been experiencing soreness in the same ankle he had surgically repaired after last season.
Calipari found it difficult to explain this soreness.
"Sore," he said. "I don't know. Sore. He has a sore ankle."
To alleviate the soreness, UK had the ankle "scanned and double-scanned," Calipari said.
The UK coach added that the soreness was no reason for Cauley-Stein not to be productive.
"There's no reason for him not to have the numbers, you know, double-digit scoring and rebounding," Calipari said. "Even with the minutes (reduced because of UK's roster) because he is probably one of the guys getting a little more minutes."
Cauley-Stein dismissed the notion that opposing defenses had reduced his effectiveness by being physical.
"They've always done that," he said. "That's been the game plan for three years now. You get used to it. It doesn't bother you."
Calipari seemed to suggest that maybe it should bother Cauley-Stein in the sense of exciting competitive instincts.
"You've got to have that mentality: 'You can't guard me; I know they're going to push,'" the UK coach said. "But he's getting better. He knows what he has to do."