With March Madness in full swing, the re-emergence pf De’Aaron Fox is the biggest story surrounding Kentucky.
The freshman point guard began the season on a major tear, enough that he was on all of the National Player of the Year award watch lists. But thanks to lower-body injuries and an illness, Fox’s play dropped off in January and February, which led to Kentucky going from a top-four team to being ranked outside the top 10.
That also led to Kentucky going from a run-and-gun team to one that relied more on half-court offense and defense to carry them. But even when Kentucky was winning eight straight to end the regular season, Fox still looked like a shell of what he was earlier in the season.
That changed in a big way once the SEC Tournament began. It began with a 20-point game against Georgia in the quarterfinals, and he followed that up with a career-high 28 points in Saturday’s 79-74 win over Alabama.
“That’s the best I’ve ever seen him play,” Dominique Hawkins said Saturday. “He couldn’t be stopped.”
Fox capped off his tournament run with 18 points, three boards, two assists and two steals in Sunday’s 82-65 win over Arkansas. For his efforts, Fox was named the SEC Tournament MVP.
Senior guard Dominique Hawkins finished with a career-high 14 points and was named to the All-SEC Tournament team. He was joined by Fox and freshman forward Bam Adebayo.
Hawkins’ rise from bench-rider to sixth man has been a big reason why Kentucky has won 11 straight games entering the NCAA Tournament. He took on a bigger role when Fox was injured, and it’s led to the senior making the kind of impact few thought he was capable of.