UK Men's Basketball

Patience has been Hawkins’ virtue for a long time

Hawkins felt he had to do more with Fox sidelined

After De'Aaron Fox left with an injured ankle, Kentucky senior Dominique Hawkins had to step up in UK's 85-69 win over South Carolina.
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After De'Aaron Fox left with an injured ankle, Kentucky senior Dominique Hawkins had to step up in UK's 85-69 win over South Carolina.

With an ever-present smile and an upbeat attitude, Kentucky senior Dominique Hawkins seems well suited for waiting his turn. A turn came in Saturday’s 85-69 victory over South Carolina.

De’Aaron Fox’s ankle injury created a void. Once more, Hawkins filled the vacuum with five points, three rebounds and seven assists.

“I feel (patience) is my personality,” Hawkins said after the game. “Usually, I’m a shy guy, and I always wait my turn.”

He said this dates back to high school when he was big man at Madison Central.

“I had friends in high school who would say, ‘Let’s cut line,’” Hawkins said. “I’d say, ‘Nah. Let’s not do that. Let’s just wait to get the lunch.’ I’ve always been patient.”

Fellow senior Derek Willis lauded Hawkins’ agreeability.

“Dom’s the best guy I’ve ever met in my life,” Willis said. “Probably top one or two guys I’ve ever met.”

Diallo’s turn?

Fox’s injury prompted an obvious question. Might Hamidou Diallo, the five-star recruit who joined the UK team a week ago, get a chance to play?

“That’s not even in the cards,” UK Coach John Calipari said.

Hawkins echoed the sentiment.

“In practice, we try to teach him the plays and stuff,” Hawkins said. “But if he doesn’t understand, we just get somebody else.”

Hawkins suggested it’s too early to assess Diallo. “All I know right now is he’s very athletic,” Hawkins said, “and he can get to the rim very well.”

That said, Hawkins added, “It’s hard to just come in a week and know everything. So he has a long way to go.”

Even after De'Aaron Fox suffered an ankle injury in win over South Carolina, Kentucky Coach John Calipari says newcomer Hamidou Diallo is not an option. Calipari joked he might have to play his son Brad.

Derek’s dunk

Derek Willis arguably had the play of the game: A rise above a poor defender and throw down a one-handed dunk.

“Best dunk since he’s been here,” Hawkins said.

Willis downplayed the dunk. “It’s just a play that happens when you play basketball,” he said.

But Willis acknowledged that the dunk caused excitement.

“My phone in there (the locker room) was like all buzzing and vibrating,” he said.

Kentucky forward Derek Willis talks about the reaction to his second-half dunk in Kentucky's win over South Carolina.

Cal-culated candor

On his radio show Wednesday, Calipari volunteered that his news conference performances are just that: performances.

“I use the media,” he said. “I’m not worried about anybody but my players. And anything I give to the media is for a reason. I want them (the players) to read what I’m saying.”

The dissatisfaction or elation Calipari expresses in post-game news conferences? Also premeditated cal-culation.

“When it’s time that we’re really struggling, that’s when I come back and say, ‘We’ll be great; it’s just going to take time,’” he said. “If I know what we are and we could get arrogant, no, you’re not hearing that from me. I’m not giving them that poison. No. No. No. No poison from me if you won a game. I’ll be better after a loss than I’ll ever be after a win.”

Of the current Cats, Calipari said, “I really like this team, and if we stay on this path, we’re going to be really good.”

He really probably meant that. Probably.

After win over South Carolina, Kentucky Coach John Calipari said the guards should still get the ball to Bam Adebayo more.

Generous Cal

South Carolina Coach Frank Martin credits Calipari for helping him advance in the profession. The two are connected by Bob Huggins, a friend of Calipari’s and a former boss of Martin’s.

“Cal’s phenomenal,” Martin said. “Cal’s a friend. His willingness to help me … I’m grateful for people who help others. All Cal does is help others. And he helped me along the way. I have unbelievable respect.”

Calipari and Martin first met as the former tried to recruit one of the latter’s high school players.

“When ‘Hugs’ hired me, Cal immediately let me in, for lack of a better word,” Martin said. “He just helped me get on the NABC Board of Directors. Those are the things that Cal never gets credit for.”

South Carolina Coach Frank Martin talks to media after his team's 85-69 loss at No. 5 Kentucky. The Gamecocks were without starting guard PJ Dozier.

Fan first

As a high school coach in Miami, Martin encouraged two of his players — Allen Edwards and Gimel Martinez — to think seriously about Kentucky’s recruiting pitch.

“I’ve been in that arena as a fan of Kentucky,” Martin said Thursday of his previous rooting interest, “and it’s Kentucky basketball.”

Three-way closed

Florida made none of its 17 three-point shots at South Carolina Wednesday. That ended the Gators’ streak of making at least one three-pointer at 850 games.

UK went into Saturday’s game having made a three-point shot in 993 consecutive games. UNLV also had made a three in 993 consecutive games going into Saturday’s game against Air Force.

Deuces wild

By beating South Carolina, UK increased its all-time victory total to 2,222. Of course, that’s more than any other college program.

Etc.

ESPN set the start time for UK’s game at Florida on Feb. 4. The game will start at 8:15 p.m. ET.… On his radio show last week, Calipari said, “I hate 9 o’clock games.” Two of UK’s next three games have 9 p.m. ET start times: at Tennessee Tuesday and home to Georgia on Jan. 31.

Jerry Tipton: 859-231-3227, @JerryTipton

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