Yet as impressive as Wall's collegiate debut was and as workmanlike as Patterson's double-double was, don't overlook the arrival of freshman DeMarcus Cousins in the second half of Kentucky's 72-70 win over Miami Monday
"That's the way I should play and would like to play from the beginning of the game until the end. That is something I have to work on," said Cousins.
He had a forgettable first half. For the second straight game, he got in foul trouble. This time he had two fouls in four minutes and went to the bench with no points and no rebounds.
The second half he showed he could be a dominant inside player as he had 10 points, 10 rebounds and one blocked shot in 15 minutes.
"I saw the emotions of my teammates and I felt I wasn't a part of that. I felt I was letting my team down. Then when Daniel (Orton) got hit, that just got me boiling," Cousins said. "That was the best I have done on both ends of the floor in a game here."
Three minutes into the second half, Cousins went to the bench and Orton came in and that's when he took the elbow in the face from Rodney Haddix and eventually need six stitches to close the wound. Once Cousins came back in, he was a different player. Consider this timeline:
n 13:01 — Scored on a hook shot.
n 11:51 — Threw a nifty pass to Patrick Patterson for a score after coming off a pick-and-roll with John Wall.
n 11:21 — Grabbed a defensive rebound.
n 11:11 — Scored off an offensive rebound.
n 10:48 — Helped force a turnover.
n 10:22 — Passed inside to Patterson, who drew a foul.
n 9:42 — Double teamed Kenny Hayes to force a missed shot. n 8:29 — Double teamed Hayes and helped force a turnover.
"For four minutes, he dominated the game," Calipari said.
He did. But the list could go on and on with how he kept playing after that. His defensive play helped force two more turnovers and he scored off an offensive rebound again when he followed his own missed shot three times. A minute later at 6:33 he followed his own miss again to score. "I thought he was tremendous.
He is just a freshman. He has to keep his emotions in check. Sometimes he wears his emotion on his sleeves and his body language does not look right," Calipari said.
The UK coach has told Cousins his "negative" body language can impact teammates just like his "passion and enthusiasm" can be contagious. " I told him when I put him back in if he did not look happy, I would take out. I do not want him to look like miserable," Calipari said.
Cousins knows Calipari wants him to smile more. However, remember his preseason line about being a "teddy bear off the court and bad ass on the court" and that helps explain why he doesn't smile when he's not playing well.
"I play off emotion. When I am down, I guess you could say I shut down. But when I am going, I am going," Cousins, who didn't know until after the game that he had his first double-double, said. "Coach wants me to smile more. I am not really the type that smiles on the court.
Coach felt like I had bad body language in the first half. It is nothing to smile about when you are out there playing. I am just really focused on winning. He thought me smiling would help the situation.
"The first half I stunk. I believe I helped us get the win in the second half and I just left it out on the floor. I wasn't helping on either end of the floor in the first half. I had to come out and improve my body language and help us get that win."
Former UK All-American Kenny Walker thinks Cousins has the potential to do even more. "When Cousins puts it together, he is probably the best NBA prospect on the team because of his size and shooting touch. I like his overall skill level and being that he is such a big, strong body," Walker said. "He tends to drift outside a little bit. That is fine because he can do it, but he has to learn to be the guy inside." He did that against Miami. Now, can he do it again?
"This was a big step for me. I know how I need to play now. Next game I will come out and try to play the way I ended tonight," he said. "Coach has been getting on me lately for my energy level. He said I wasn't playing hard enough. I thought I was, but I had to turn it up."
After all, Calipari has his own special motivation that Cousins clearly understands. "If you don't want to play right, he is just going to bench you and you will have plenty of time to think about it," Cousins said.