**John Calipari was unable to participate in the post-game interview because he left early to be with his son Brad, who is recovering from ACL surgery. Assistant coach John Robic sat in for him and took questions.
Now that SEC play has started, Calipari has stated that he might try to dive a little deeper into his bench. Tonight the Cats got strong play from a trio of players off the bench, highlighted by the play of big man Dakari Johnson. Johnson has seen sparse minutes so far this season, but made the most of the his 8 quality minutes tonight. Johnson finished with 8 points in those 8 minutes. John Robic was pleased with Johnson’s play and thinks that adding another presence down low will only benefit this Kentucky team in the long run.
“The person who did the best job was Dakari. He caught the ball tight and was forceful when he caught the ball. That was a big game for him and his confidence. And a big game for our team. Having another 7 foot body in the middle is big.”
Poythress also showcased the kind of energy and impact that Calipari has been talking about him having in practice all week. “That’s how Alex has been practicing,” Robic stated. “He’s played very, very well. His confidence level should be at an all-time high. He’s bringing an energy. He’s doing the things that he can do. Now, keep doing those things but he has to expand some other things. He’s playing within his game and he’s able to do a lot of good things.”
And last but not least, Dominique Hawkins continued to garner more praise off the bench in his role for the Cats. Hawkins contributed 4 points, 2 assists and 2 rebounds in 23 minutes of action. Early in the game when the Cats were struggling, Hawkins’ hustle and ability to move the ball effectively on offense kept Kentucky in the game.
“He does what we ask him to do,” Robic said of Hawkins. “He doesn’t know any better. He doesn’t lie. We try to tell him to lie every now and then. He hustles. He puts pressure on the ball. We’d like to see him have a little more confidence shooting the ball. He just brings an energy and you have to find time for him on the floor.”
Go Cats. Go depth.