Malik Williams vs. Miami

Malik Williams fights for a ball against Miami at the KFC YUM! Center in Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB)- Malik Williams is now a starter for the U of L men's basketball team. He moved in to that role on January 9th at Pitt and has started four straight games.

However, that meant giving up another very important job he filled coming off the bench.

Just about every team has a "hype" player.

"You just want to do something that looks cool," Williams said.

A non-starter that does the handshakes as the lineup is introduced. Malik was that guy.

"Being the handshake guy, you gotta know what all 5 of the guys want to do," Williams said.

Indiana uses walk-on Vijay Blackmon, UK doesn't really have a handshake specialist, while the U of L women don't even use a player on the roster.

"Everybody has their different flavor to it," said junior Jazmine Jones.

Alexis Barlow, a practice player, handles the handshakes for women's team.

"She remembers the handshakes, she has a great personality and she fits in with the team," said Jones. "It was easy picking her to do it."

Jones doesn’t stop after her name is called, she has a handshake with just about everyone on the team, and sometimes multiple variations.

“Me and Asia (Durr's) handshake, we just added something new to it, and if we something else cool, we’re like lets add this to it," Jones said.

“The most exciting one for me was one time Darius, we had our handshake and to start it we went slow motion and then once the shake started, we went to fast motion for the actual handshake, that was the coolest one," Williams said.

There is an art to it, Malik approached his teammates individually to come up with the routines.

“It really sucks when you’re ready for it and then somebody messes it up,” the sophomore forward said.

Steven Enoch is now the man in charge of the handshakes, and has work to do.

“He hasn’t found any shakes yet,” Williams said laughing.

If Enoch needs help, Williams is happy to assist. Maybe some new handshakes will be on display when the 23rd ranked Cardinals host no. 21 N.C. State on Thursday night at the YUM! Center.

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