As is his tradition, John Calipari confirmed this afternoon that he will start the program’s three seniors tomorrow night in their final game in Rupp Arena. Calipari spent most of his press conference today reflecting on the careers of Dominique Hawkins, Derek Willis, and Mychal Mulder, who he says are playing the best basketball of their lives.
“They’re all three playing the best of their careers right now,” Cal said. “We need them to play well, and that’s what their doing right now. It takes it off those freshmen, who are sometimes in and out. This stuff is hard. Sometimes you go down based on your focus and your work and then it takes you time to come back from that. If you have a senior that gets it and can step in and take the load off, it’s always good.”
While Cal praised all three seniors, he said he’s been particularly impressed with Dominique Hawkins, who stepped up and made sure the Cats didn’t slip with Fox out vs. Florida.
“The way he’s been playing now, fight, battle. He’ll forget stuff, but what are you going to say with a guy that’s diving all over the floor, taking charges, sticking his nose in, coming up with balls he shouldn’t come up with, making layups and runners, not afraid to play? He’s built his own self-confidence, and he’s built that through practice. He’s another one. Think of the guys he’s played against every day.”
On a team defined by freshmen, it’s the seniors that are making the biggest difference as of late, and Calipari said he thinks all three will play professionally in one way or the other. In fact, he said a general manager from a pro team in Australia was recently at practice to watch Derek, Dom, Mychal, and Isaac Humphries.
“I think all three will play professionally if they choose to do that,” Cal said. “For those three, to finish this thing and have a good run at the end where they walk away fulfilled in every front is what you would want. But I’m happy for all three of them, really.”
Win it for the seniors.