Marcus Lee and Dominique Hawkins earning playing time

By Nick Gray | Sports editor
ngray@kykernel.com

Freshman guard Dominique Hawkins and freshman forward Marcus Lee were not originally part of the main seven-man rotation that UK head coach John Calipari sought before the season opener.

But each player’s production has allowed both to stand out in their limited time on the floor this young season.

Hawkins and Lee combined for just six minutes last Tuesday against Michigan State University, and Calipari said Friday he would look for more playing time for each player.

Calipari found 18 minutes for Hawkins, a native of Richmond, Ky., against Robert Morris University.

Kentucky Wildcat forward Marcus Lee (00) reacts after Kentucky makes a basket during the second half of UK men's basketball vs. Michigan State at Rupp Arena in Chicago, Ill., at the Champions Classic  on Tuesday, November 12, 2013. Photo by Emily Wuetcher | Staff

Kentucky Wildcat forward Marcus Lee (00) reacts after Kentucky makes a basket during the second half of UK men’s basketball vs. Michigan State at Rupp Arena in Chicago, Ill., at the Champions Classic on Tuesday, November 12, 2013. Photo by Emily Wuetcher | Staff

Hawkins scored four points and dished out three assists against the Colonials.

The reason, Calipari said, for the increased playing time is Hawkins’ energy.

“He just goes up and he adds energy to the game,” Calipari said. “You saw how hard he runs the court so we could throw to him, so we could throw lobs, so we could throw to the post.”

Hawkins was the lowest rated freshman on scholarship at UK coming out of high school, but his confidence was unshaken, despite the talent around him.

“I envisioned myself playing a little bit, but not too much,” Hawkins said. “I didn’t see myself starting as a freshman, but I knew I was going to be able to find my role and whatever that role ended up being, I knew I could play it well.”

In his first game, Lee scored 17 points in 15 minutes as Calipari publically stated after the game that the young forward has earned more playing time.

Though he only played for a single minute last Tuesday, Lee made his first career start Sunday against Robert Morris, mainly because Calipari wanted to win the opening tip.

Besides winning the tip, Lee was the front man in a full-court press defense that forced Robert Morris into a handful of turnovers and forced the Colonials guards to begin their offense late in the shot clock.

“I absolutely love pressing because that’s where I shine,” Lee said. “You won’t make it past half court because I won’t let you.”

The 6-foot-9-inch forward recorded two blocks against Robert Morris.

But his block totals did not shine as much as Hawkins’ block late in the second half, a spike-like block that Lee said would be acceptable on his high school volleyball team.

The play prompted Hawkins to call himself the best shot blocker on the team after the game, something Lee immediately resented with a smile.

“Really Dominique?” Lee yelled across the room to Hawkins. “But that shot block was pretty nasty.”

After the game, Lee told Hawkins he was coming for the 6-foot guard during practice this buying cialis online week, in a manner no different than both players have done to UK’s opponents this season.