A day after Coach Billy Gillispie called for Michael Porter to "exhibit more confidence," Kentucky's starting point guard looked the part.
Porter played 16 turnover-free minutes in UK's 71-42 victory over Delaware State on Saturday.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
Yet afterward, Porter said he did not have any more inner confidence against Delaware State than he had in Kentucky's two earlier games.
"I always feel confident in myself," he said before adding, "I guess it's what the appearance is."
Appearances count for a lot, Porter acknowledged. "You don't want the other team thinking you're not confident."
Porter probably doesn't want UK fans thinking he can be a target. On the same day Gillispie called for more confidence, teammate Perry Stevenson noted the "hate mail" Porter receives.
Porter downplayed the interaction with fans except to wonder about their persistence.
"I don't know how people got my e-mail (address)," he said. The e-mailers offered him advice on how to play.
"I'm thinking, 'Man, don't you think Coach (Gillispie) tells me enough?' " Porter said. "I think that's cool. People care so much.
"Sometimes it's discouraging. I don't take it as discouraging. I try to take it as a positive. ... The pressure is a good thing if you take it the right way. It forces you to pick up your game a little bit."
Mostly, Porter said, he tries not to read newspapers or check Internet Web sites.
In the pre-season, Porter said he'd prefer to play shooting guard. Now he said he's growing accustomed to point guard and has no preference.
While acknowledging that he's holding the position until freshman DeAndre Liggins (or someone else, Kevin Galloway?) can excel, Porter sounded more territorial.
"I'm not going to give up my spot," he said before adding, "Whatever the team needs from me, I'm going to play as hard as I can so we can be a good as we can be."
Patterson cuts hair
UK big man Patrick Patterson intended to grow out his Afro all season, the idea being to look like Ben Wallace by March.
"Ben Wallace died," Patterson said.
Patterson got his hair cut short. "A clean-cut look," roommate Jodie Meeks said.
In explaining why he cut his Afro, Patterson cited "superstition. We lost the first two games. Plus, it's been a distraction."
Patterson noted the "hassle" of maintaining the Afro look. He also marveled at the attention his Afro got, and now the haircut will receive.
"It's crazy," he said. "I think it's hilarious how people talk about my hair. I look at the message boards, my Facebook, my profile. People messaging me, 'Is it true? Is it true? Did you cut it?'
"I say, yes, it's true. It's not that big a deal."
When he decided to grow his Afro, Patterson spoke of an intimidating factor.
"I've just got to make my game scary," he said. "Like my freshman year. I have to bring it like I did then."e_SClBMiller more assertive
Freshman Darius Miller made a wide range of contributions Saturday, one game after 13 minutes at North Carolina produced no points and five turnovers.
"I was over-thinking everything," Miller said of the North Carolina game. " 'I got to do this. I got to do that.' Instead of just playing my game."
Miller credited his teammates with encouraging him.
Against Delaware State, Miller scored 13 points, made four assists, hit a three-pointer, got a steal and tied Stevenson for the most free-throw attempts (four).
Gillispie called for Miller to be more assertive.
"He passed up too many shots where he was wide open," the UK coach said.
On one play, Miller stood alone on the three-point line, then surprised Patterson with a pass.
"I really don't think I'm passing up too many shots," Miller said. "I'm trying to get Pat the ball. Get him in rhythm."
Miller described his role as rebounder and solid defender on defense, and smart, heady player on offense.
■ Junior-college transfer Kevin Galloway saw his first action. He played two minutes before returning to the bench. "He just didn't do what we asked him to do," Gillispie said. "He's too good a player not to get minutes for our team. He needs to know what he's going to do when he gets in there."
■ Gillispie lamented DeAndre Liggins' four fouls. "Our margin for error till we get better offense is not good enough" to absorb bad fouls, the UK coach said.