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Senior night will be special for UK trio

Senior night is special.

Although the tradition has somewhat taken a backseat to the one-and-done era under John Calipari, there’s just something about that last home game of the season at Rupp Arena – the singing of “My Old Kentucky Home” the tears, the parents and the seniors receiving their framed jersey.

It’s an emotional and sometimes tearjerking experience.

Tonight instate heroes Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis will be joined by Mychal Mulder and the trio will be honored before the Wildcats take on Vanderbilt in the home finale set for 9 p.m. All three will start and play a significant amount of minutes against the Commodores.

It’s a fitting ending for the three players.

Hawkins and Willis endured a roller-coaster ride in their four-year careers, but have made significant contributions during the past two-plus seasons, all while playing behind first-round draft choices and enduring nagging injuries.

Hawkins and Willis stayed the course. Willis says Kentucky coach John Calipari changed his life, while Hawkins, who is seemingly always smiling, never considered leaving even during the tough times playing for his dream school.

Mulder has only been with the program for two years, but has made the most of his senior year and is giving the Wildcats valuable minutes off the bench. Like Hawkins and Willis, Mulder has officially arrived on the big stage and is playing the best basketball of his career.

All three were on a different timetable while climbing the ladder of success and have reached the top. In addition to walking away with a frame jersey, the trio will leave the program with a college degree in hand.

All three players will be missed, but all of them have a bright future looming on the horizon and have the skills and tools needed to succeed.

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