A year ago they were playing high school ball. Now, they're guarding Alabama and trying to get a shot off against Vanderbilt.
Practices are more intense. Scouting reports are more complicated. On game day, there are no possessions to coast through and catch a breather.
That's why college freshmen sometimes hit a proverbial wall and February is a likely time to hit it.
They're 20 games into college basketball as the 14th-ranked Vols (16-4, 4-2 SEC) head to LSU (9-12, 0-7) on Thursday night (TV: ESPN2, 9 p.m.).
"I don't feel anything unusual,'' Hall said Tuesday. "I don't think I've hit my wall yet.
"You've got to remember I just got started not too long ago, really. I wasn't playing as much early so now, I'm still pretty good.''
Hall, a 6-foot-9 post, played only sporadically through December. After the Jan. 1 incident that got Tyler Smith dismissed and Brian Williams suspended, Hall's role has increased.
He's averaging 21 minutes in SEC play and has started two games.
McBee's role has been more consistent. The guard from Grainger High School averages 15.2 minutes.
"It's been strenuous going through the season,'' McBee said, "but I'm trying to fight through it right now, taking care of my body.
"I worked out a lot during the summer because I knew during the season I was going to have to push myself.''
Both freshmen have had their struggles lately.
McBee is shooting just 30.9 percent from 3-point range - 20.8 percent in SEC play. But he interprets that as a general adjustment to college defenses rather than a freshman wall.
"That's just getting used to the speed of the game,'' he said. "People are longer and more athletic (than high school) and they close out faster.
"That's something I'm working on in practice, getting shots off quicker. Hopefully, I can get used to that and my percentage will go up a little bit.''
Hall is shooting a robust 58.1 percent from the field in SEC play. His frustration came at the free-throw line, where he was 1-of-6 against Florida on Sunday.
"It happens,'' he said. "Every player goes through it. Kobe Bryant went through it.
"I wasn't a terrible free-throw shooter in high school. I'll get over it.''
Coach Bruce Pearl, meanwhile, is keeping a watchful eye for signs of freshman fatigue.
"We talk about it,'' he said. "You face facts. I don't blame Kenny for being tired, what he had to do physically to get ready to play this year, the growth spurt and the weight gain.
"But mentally, they're both OK. Neither one of them has played as much and they're both hungry.''
Summitt At TipOff Club: Pat Summitt is the featured speaker at today's Big Orange TipOff Club. The public is invited at Calhoun's on the River for a noon lunch buffet.
Slay In The House: Ron Slay, the 2003 SEC player of the year, watched practice Tuesday. Slay is recovering from surgery to repair a bulging disc and said he will return to Italy this month.
He plays for Cimberio Varese in Italy's top league.