My definition of "the basics" as used here is
(as required by the PTS)
• An understanding of fundamental aerodynamics.
• An understanding of what each control surface does and why.
• The ability to coordinate with the rudder.
• An awareness of the nose attitude and the ability to use it and power to control speed.
• An awareness of where the airplane will go if a given trend continues (planning ahead).
• The ability to use the rudder to control torque and similar effects (P-factor, etc.).