By LARRY VAUGHT
Senior Derek Willis was not surprised that Kentucky got a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
“It just kind of depended on who fell into that bracket with us was the different thing. I don’t know. Like I said, you still gotta go out and play the games and not worry about who you could potentially play, just take it one weekend at a time,” said Willis, who has been at UK for 13 NCAA games already.
Kentucky plays Northern Kentucky University Sunday and then would face either Dayton or Wichita State if it wins. If the Cats advance, they could go against UCLA and then North Carolina.
“You have to be desperate and it’s the last time playing college basketball and you want to leave it all out on the court,” Willis said. “I think the thing with rebounding though is kind of being more aware of where ball’s going to come off on the rim and stuff. It’s really positioning and then just making contact with the guy and going up and getting the ball. So that’s really about it though.”
Senior Dominique Hawkins has also been part of 13 NCAA tourney games. He knows opening play in Indianapolis is a big edge for UK.
“I’m pretty sure the fans are going to travel – I feel like they would travel anywhere to be honest. But I feel like a lot of fans will be there to cheer us on,” he said.
It would be the same in Memphis if UK gets there.
“We’re not really focused about all those other teams. We’re just focused on the teams we have to play, but once we have to play them we’ll be really focused on them. We know we’re going to have to play elite teams to advance, so we have to be focused for any team we play,” he said.
“All the guys here want to win and they’re doing whatever they have to do to win, like everybody knows that Malik (Monk) and Wenyen (Gabriel) have been getting up early just to go to shootarounds, and that’s preparing for the game to win.”
Hawkins said both he and Willis can’t worry about any game potentially being their final game.
“I just feel like if I look at it that way I’ll be too nervous or not trying to be aggressive enough. So, I’m just going to take it just as any other game,” he said.