One of the few certainties with this team is that when things start to fall apart, Dominique Hawkins steps up and takes control. Today, Dom once again came through, hitting some big shots and helping shut down the Shockers to ensure that the Cats wouldn’t be headed home after the first weekend of the tournament again. Hawkins has said several times that this team is the most fun he’s been around in his four years at Kentucky, and after the game, I asked him how proud he was of his squad. Spoiler: Very.
“I’m very proud. Everybody said we’re really young and don’t focus. We pretty much proved them wrong. I feel like everybody tied in on the defensive end and that’s why Malik made that big play at the end.”
That big play Dom’s talking about is Malik’s huge block at the end. I don’t think many fans would have guessed Malik would have one of the biggest blocks of the game, but he did. Dominique, one of the best lockdown defenders Calipari’s had, sounded like a proud older brother when asked about Malik’s improvement on defense.
“Malik, he’s an excellent player, he can do more than just score. He defends, he can guard the best player if you need him to. He’s just a player that wants to win and will do anything for the team.”