Few likely expected Dominique Hawkins to even see the floor in the Sweet 16, but a conversation with his coach on Friday had him prepared.
John Calipari pulled the freshman guard aside at UK’s open practice at Lucas Oil Stadium, telling Hawkins — who hadn’t played more than seven minutes in a game since Jan. 8 — he better be ready for the challenge of shadowing one of the nation’s best players.
“He basically told me, ‘You know who you’re going to be guarding, right, if I put you in?’ ” Calipari said. “I was like, ‘Yeah, I know Coach.’ And he told me, ‘Get ready for it if I call your name. That’s who you’re going to be guarding.’ ”
That who, of course, was Louisville’s Russ Smith, the 6-foot senior All-American. And with 14:34 left in the first half, Hawkins got his shot.