Well, if you were refreshing the site for definitive word about De’Aaron Fox’s ankle, well, you’re out of luck. Filling in for John Calipari, Kenny Payne didn’t have an update on Fox other than he’s day to day. Fox actually broke a little news himself on Snapchat, taking a picture of his injured ankle in normal shoes, not the walking boot he wore during the second half of the game Saturday night. He was also spotted by reporters walking through the practice facility barefoot with his ankles taped.
Payne said that people saw how much Fox means to this team when they struggled without him when he first went out.
“A lot. A lot. I think you saw a little bit of the adjustment we had to make, we went through a spell. Without him, we were a little confused, discombobulated, but we got it together, which is the sign of a great team that without any missing piece, we win games.”
In other news, Mychal Mulder is still suffering from the illness that held him out of the South Carolina game.
“Hopefully, we’ll get him back soon,” Payne said of Mulder. “We need him.”
Should Kentucky decide to hold Fox out of tomorrow night’s game in Knoxville, senior Dominique Hawkins may get the starting nod. It was Payne who suggested Calipari hand the reins over to Dominique when Isaiah Briscoe was struggling. Why did he do that?
“I think the fact that he doesn’t turn the ball over. I think Isaiah’s done a great job but I think he can also play both on and off the ball. If turnovers are the issue — which in spells, it has been an issue, we go through a four-five minute stretch where we’re turning the ball over — give it somebody who doesn’t turn it over. It stabilizes us.”
Hawkins did just that for the Cats Saturday, dishing out seven assists to only two turnovers; however, his presence on defense was equally important, Payne said.
“He’s been really really steady, and the most important thing he does for this team is put pressure on the ball, and that’s where we need him the most. He’s been good for us. I’d like to see him get more shots, be a more aggressive offensive player, but he’s done a really good job.”
If Fox is out, we’re going to need another huge game from Hawkins tomorrow night.