In a game that had plenty of ups and down, high points and low points, Hopkins was a highlight and added another gear to the machine that is learning to win without 40 % of the starting lineup.
There is nothing wrong with that, as matter of fact, it may be one of the best things that has happened to this very talented team as it makes the push toward March.
Standing 6-foot-6, the freshman forward finished the night with 13 points, 4 rebounds, and an amazing 5/6 shooting night that all happened in the midst of a comeback run that vaulted UK past LSU for the victory.
“He did what the team needed him to do.” John Calipari said of Hopkins’ performance. “… I’m playing guys that are gonna fight.”
For Coach Cal, Hopkins has stepped into the role of the ‘next man up’ mindset that the Kentucky coach is trying to instill in the team as they move toward the end of the season.
Another marquee Saturday matchup awaits …— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 25, 2022
UK-Arkansas 2 p.m. ET on CBS. pic.twitter.com/ibtONr0oYg
Way back before the season began, here at Sea of Blue, we had some good things to say about Hopkins. There were flashes of his amazing talent as the team prepped for the current campaign.
This past week, we saw Bryce emerge as the hero while the Revenge Tour continued against the Bayou Bengals. Hopkins’ spark, a strong second half defensive recovery from UK, and a steady offensive effort once again earned a hard-fought win for the team that is learning to survive without either one of their point guards out due to injury.
Many don’t remember that Bryce had originally committed to arch-rival Louisville but heard the call to Lexington and has brought his grittiness, his hard work ethic, and his big physical presence to a team that needs him to emerge…and he did this past week …right on time.