Swish-swish-Swish. In the first half of the Blue-White Game, Mychal Mulder looked like the dead-eye shooter Kentucky imported from junior college.
Then in the second half, he missed all six shots he took, three from beyond the arc.
"A lot of shooters go through that, someone who predominantly shoots the ball," Mulder said Friday.
To explain the difference, Mulder cited the nature of Blue-White in which players can switch from team to team as coaches experiment. The big difference, he said, was playing with Tyler Ulis in the first half.
"Playing with Tyler was a lot easier than trying to create my own stuff," Mulder said.
Ulis can make such a difference for many players, Mulder said.
"He helps us tremendously," Mulder said. "He makes my job, specifically, so much easier. He puts the ball in my hands when I'm ready. (That applies to) not just shooters, but everybody.
"Tyler is a great point guard, probably the best in the nation. We expect a lot from him, and I think he provides a lot."
Assistant coach John Robic, who substituted for John Calipari at a news conference, downplayed the significance of Mulder's feast-or-famine night.
"Even in practice, he'll go through spells like that," Robic said. "... They were all good looks. They're going to fall for him. He has confidence in his shot. His teammates have confidence in it."
One of UK's regular shooting drills calls for players to make as many three-point shots as possible in a five-minute period. Mulder said he's made as many as 64, which figures out to be a three-point basket every 4.7 seconds.
Although Kentucky's first game is still two weeks away, teammates touted the improvement already made by arguably the two most important players — not named Tyler Ulis — to team success this season: Alex Poythress and Skal Labissiere.
Of course, Poythress is coming back from tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in mid-December. Calipari has said that Poythress can make a critical difference because his combination of size and athleticism makes him the team's only "beast."
Teammate Marcus Lee said he can see Poythress becoming that kind of player.
"Alex is definitely a confident player right now," Lee said. "He's getting used to his injury no longer being there. It's mostly mental with him. Him just saying, 'OK, I'm ready to do it.' That's what he has to do."
A standout play still contains an element of surprise for Poythress, Lee said.
"You can definitely see sometimes when he'll forget that he's ever been injured," Lee said. "And he'll jump out of the gym like he usually does. After he does, he'll kind of have a surprised face of forgetting how powerful he really is."
Of that mental hurdle Poythress must cross, Robic said, "The big thing (Calipari) is telling him is, he just has to trust it. But there are times when his explosiveness is there. You forgot how big he is. And having another bigger player on the court is really beneficial to us."
Labissiere is widely seen as a possible overall No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. After the Blue-White Game, Calipari again called for the freshman big man to assert himself more and become an intimidating presence.
Mulder said Labissiere is making this transition.
"I definitely say I've seen Skal take a lot of steps forward as a basketball player and as a person," Mulder said. "... He's handled everything that's been put on him really well."
Lee echoed that thought.
"Skal is definitely a really confident player, so confidence is not something he really needs to work on," Lee said. "It's kind of just him knowing he's able to do it, and just doing it, and not over-thinking the process."
UK's 13-for-30 free throw shooting in the Blue-White Game did not go unnoticed. The coaches will make free throw shooting a higher priority.
"Early on in a season, that's maybe a little bit of an afterthought," Robic said. "... We do shoot them, but not every day. But we'll put more of an importance on it as of right now."
The players will be required to make 500 free throws each week, Robic said.