By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky junior guard Dominique Hawkins practiced Thursday but coach John Calipari said he is still not 100 percent because of his sprained ankle and he’s not sure if he can play Saturday night at Kansas or not.
“It would be a nice game to walk into. Be out a month and walk into this game. ‘Go ahead, get in there. You can do it!’” Calipari joked.
Calipari said UK needs his toughness and steady play and that he plays within himself at all times.
“Will defend and dive on the floor. He’s done it before. We’ve seen him in NCAA Tournaments do it, so we know what he is. And I think this team is really comfortable (with him). Like, when I split the teams up and he couldn’t quite go, Tyler (Ulis) said. ‘He was the X-factor. That’s why my team won. When he got hurt and we had to play somebody else, my team couldn’t win.’ And that’s who he is. He’s a winner. He’s a great kid,” Calipari said Friday.
“It’s like all of them. You want guys to go out, learn about themselves, and then go out and really give their best effort. Learn who they are. Like, we got guys trying to figure out, ‘How do I get myself going?’ I said, ‘You’ve got to ask yourself questions. Sometimes it’s not how do I get myself going. It becomes another question of what’s stopping me from doing this? Is something holding me back?’ And they gotta do that. The best players I’ve coached were able to self-evaluate and then change. The best players I’ve coached. The others get delusional. They want to blame everybody. It’s always something else. ‘I’m fine!’ ‘No, you’re not. That’s your problem. You’re not fine.’
“The best self-evaluate, and that’s what I’m trying to teach these guys. You gotta figure it out from within and then we’re here to help you. No one’s trying to hurt you. We’re throwing life preservers, but you’ve gotta swin. You’ve gotta swim. I can’t swim for you.”