Being one of the lucky few players to be named a McDonald's All-American doesn't guarantee you playing time.
Just ask Kentucky's Jennifer O'Neill.
The 5-foot-6 freshman point guard is averaging a team-low six minutes a game. The most minutes she's played in a game is 13, which came last week against Tennessee Tech.
She's averaging 2.2 points a game.
Not exactly the numbers she or the Cats coaching staff imagined when they signed one of the top 30 players in the nation.
"I've had to learn things the hard way," she said Friday with a shy smile.
The guard from the Bronx, N.Y., said UK Coach Matthew Mitchell has made it clear what she has to do to earn more playing time.
He made it clear to the media on Friday in a pre-game news conference.
"She still has the same talent as when we recruited her," he said. "But for whatever reason ... the commitment on the defensive end is lacking and that's holding her back."
He said there's a direct correlation between how hard a player practices — especially on the defensive end — and how many minutes she's going to play.
O'Neill said the lack of court time has been "a wake-up call."
Senior Victoria Dunlap said Mitchell doesn't discriminate. The Southeastern Conference Player of the Year said the formula is the same for every player on the roster from her to O'Neill.
"If you're going hard in practice, you're going to play in the game," Dunlap said.
O'Neill has had to change the way she thinks about basketball, especially on the defensive end, Dunlap said.
"That was kind of a struggle for her, but she's getting that mindset right," she said. "Once she recognizes that the coaches know what they're talking about and plays defense and offense with intensity on both ends, she'll be good."
The freshman, who scored a career-high seven points in nine minutes at Chattanooga last week, said making the transition from high school to college has been part of the challenge.
"In high school, sometimes you're so talented you can get away with stuff, but at this level, it's details. Everything is details and if you don't get the details right then you most likely are not going to play."
O'Neill, the first McDonald's All-American ever signed by UK, said every player wants to play in the game.
But her disappointment doesn't lie with the coaches.
"I'm frustrated with it because I did it to myself," she said. "You're going to get upset, but this isn't about me it's about us, about this team."
There's still a long season ahead of Kentucky, which plays the next four games at home before heading on the road to face No. 5 Duke in early January.
With senior point guard Amber Smith sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury, there's no better time than the present for O'Neill to improve, her coach said.
"She's so much better than what she has shown at this point," he said after the win over Tennessee Tech. "It would really help our team if she would assert herself and get with the program here."
She needs to become a mentally tougher player, he explained.
"It's not physical," he said. "She can shoot the ball; she can handle the ball; she can do everything we need her to do; she can defend, but for whatever reason, it's not clicking with her."
The mental fortitude issue seems to be one that runs through the six-player freshman class.
Jokingly, Mitchell said he wouldn't advise any coach to have a team with so many freshmen.
"Six freshmen in one year will send you over the edge if you don't handle it correctly and this group definitely will," he said.
O'Neill made it clear on Friday that she plans to keep going forward as a part of this class.
A lack of playing time doesn't have her looking at other options.
"I love it here," O'Neill said. "I love the coaching staff. They've really been on me lately because I haven't been holding up my end of the bargain."
The guard says she has every intention of showing her coaches and teammates what she can do.
"I've got to prove myself to coach in practice and let him know I'm here for the team and do anything to help us win."