To most of the players, the Kentucky/Louisville game is just another game on the schedule, but to Kentucky natives Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis, it matters a little more. Hawkins played like it today, coming off the bench to score 13 points, including three crucial threes and two free throws that kept Kentucky rolling when the game was in question.
After the game, John Calipari had nothing but praise for the Richmond native, who he called “one of the great kids of all time.”
“I thought Dom really fought,” Cal said. “Never changed his emotion the whole time. He defended, he’ll fight like crazy, he’s got a great temperament, a great demeanor. One of the great kids of all time. I mean literally one of the great kids.”
Not only did Hawkins give the Cats buckets when they needed them most, he was a fierce defender, filling the void left by Isaiah Briscoe, who had to sit the game out after turning an ankle during warm-ups.
After the game, Hawkins told reporters that, growing up, he pretended to play in Kentucky/Louisville rivalry games with his friends that cheered for Louisville. The result then? “Kentucky usually won.”
Thanks to Hawkins, that’s still true today.