Kevin Galloway's flirtation with a triple-double against Florida on Tuesday night raised an obvious question: Where had he been hiding this kind of game-changing talent?
When asked after Kentucky's 68-65 victory, Galloway paused and smiled.
Then he said, "I'm not going to answer that question."
That cryptic response suggested that maybe Galloway thought he hadn't gotten the chance to show what he could do earlier this season.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
Not that he's been a boat rocker. After the game, UK Coach Billy Gillispie saluted Galloway's patience while waiting all season for an opportunity to play meaningful minutes and affect the team's fortunes.
"Too many times guys want to play, and when they don't get to play they have the wrong attitude about things," Gillispie said. "Kevin Galloway's attitude has been as good as I've ever seen."
Galloway cited a simple virtue as the inspiration for his patience.
"Just hope," he said. "Keep hope alive. Just want to get better each and every day so when my chance comes, I'll be ready for it."
Gillispie noted that he frequently counsels players to be prepared to take advantage of an opportunity.
"And he definitely took advantage of it," the UK coach said. "He played great. Galloway was the major difference in the game."
Gillispie suggested that Galloway played a big part in putting UK in position to win the game on Jodie Meeks' scoring down the stretch, which included the winning three-pointer with 4.7 seconds left.
Galloway contributed career highs in points (six), rebounds (eight), assists (nine) and, not-so-coincidentally, minutes (25). Plus he looked eager to take a turn defending Florida's main man, point guard Nick Calathes.
Galloway acknowledged an evolving response to Gillispie's season-long advice to stay ready.
Early in the season, Galloway interpreted the message as a call for effort. "Maybe he wants me to go a little harder in practice," he said, "so I did that."
By February, it had grown more difficult to hear.
"Oh, man, I was a little discouraged," Galloway said. "I've got family back home being encouraging to me, telling me they're proud of me no matter what. They're glad I'm here. That made it a little easier."
Going into the Florida game, Galloway had scored more than one basket only once: when Kentucky played Central Michigan on Dec. 29. He had scored six points in cameo appearances against Southeastern Conference teams.
When asked whether he had doubted his chance would arrive, Galloway said, "At this point, I wasn't sure. I just knew Coach had been saying all year, be prepared and my chance may come. I thought if it comes now or five games down the road, I was going to be ready to go."
Gillispie credited an aggressive attitude for Galloway's effect against Florida.
"I've never been part of a game where one guy did it by the nature (of how) he did it," Gillispie said. "I've had guys really dominate in the paint, make shots, change the game defensively. Just to force the action like he did, I haven't been part of that."
Gillispie lauded Galloway's make-something-happen attitude. As the UK coach has said in the past, he finds mistakes of commission easier to accept than errors born from hesitation.
"We all make mistakes," Gillispie said. "But I don't like guys looking scared, and we've had way too much of that here lately. ... Galloway is much closer to being out of control than he is being timid.
"I can live with out of control. I can live with mistakes of commission. I have a hard time dealing with mistakes of omission."
Like many junior college transfers, Galloway needed time to adjust to Division I basketball. Only more recently has he grown comfortable enough to take the initiative.
Galloway probably took the concept of aggressive play beyond acceptable limits in the Florida game.
Noticing how Florida's defenders went with Meeks when he handed off the ball to the SEC's leading scorer, Galloway told Gillispie, "I think we can fake the handoff and get a layup.'"
Gillispie's response? "I said, 'Don't press your luck on that one. Hand it off to Jodie.' "
Recalling the conversation, Gillispie told reporters, "At least we're thinking."
Galloway took solace in his coach's "thoughtful" response to the suggestion. After his play against Florida, Galloway sounded ready to share more thoughts with the coach.
Asked whether the game served as his coming-out party, Galloway said, "I think so. It was the first time I've ever played more than 10 minutes here at Kentucky. I think Coach has a little more confidence in me, and I'll get another shot."
Opponent Min Pts Reb Ast TO
VMI Did not play
North Carolina Did not play
Delaware State 2 0 0 0 0
Longwood 5 0 0 1 2
Kansas State 1 0 0 0 0
West Virginia Did not play
Lamar 19 2 3 5 1
Miami 2 0 0 0 1
Miss. Valley St. 8 2 2 1 1
Indiana 14 4 1 1 2
Appalachian St. 12 0 4 4 1
Tennessee St. 14 2 5 4 2
Florida Atlantic 3 0 0 1 0
Central Michigan 4 4 1 0 0
Louisville 4 2 0 0 1
Vanderbilt Did not play
Tennessee 10 2 4 0 2
Georgia 10 1 0 4 0
Auburn 3 0 0 0 0
Alabama 1 0 0 0 0
Mississippi Did not play
South Carolina 6 2 0 0 0
Mississippi State 2 1 2 2 1
Florida 25 6 8 9 4
Average 7.6 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.1