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Guest post: Why do fans love Dominique Hawkins so much?

Dominique Hawkins (Vicky Graff Photo)

Dominique Hawkins (Vicky Graff Photo)

By JESSICA JONES (@thereal_jones)

Another highly touted recruiting class will make its way to Lexington this summer but this year John Calipari will have something he’s rarely had in his tenure at Kentucky: three seniors. Derek Willis, Mychal Mulder, and Dominique Hawkins will be honored at senior day this season. Perhaps one of the fan favorites is Dominique Hawkins.

Dom came in with a highly anticipated recruiting class that included the Harrison twins, James Young, Marcus Lee and Julius Randle. In his career he has been apart of two Final Fours; including the 38 game winning 2015 Cats. He’ll finish his career with another top-ranked recruiting class and hopefully hanging number 9 in Rupp.
Why do we love Dom?
If you remember Dominique secretly got a Kentucky offer and kept it under wraps up until his announcement in April 2013. I remember being very excited to have a local kid joining the Wildcats. Dom, from Richmond, KY, gets to live out the dream of every boy growing up in Kentucky: Becoming a Kentucky Wildcat. This alone would make him a fan favorite but Dom gives so much more.
Upon Dom’s commitment, Coach Calipari noted his toughness as key reason for recruiting him. Dominique wouldn’t get the starting minutes of guys like Andrew Harrison or James Young but from day one Wildcat fans knew he would see the floor for valuable minutes. Hawkins has always willingly accepted his role on the team. More than that, he truly understands what it means to wear Kentucky blue.
Dominique also has one of the most infectious smiles I have ever seen and many fans enjoy his humble smile. As a young man growing up in Kentucky, one couldn’t imagine more of a dream come true than Dom’s March/April 2013: Winning the Kentucky state championship, being named Kentucky Mr. Basketball, and receiving a college scholarship offer from John Calipari at the University of Kentucky. Dominique is kind, humble, and virtually every Kentucky fan is pulling for his success.
 Notable moments:
As a freshmen, Dom played a key defensive role in the epic Final Four run of 2013 against Louisville and Michigan. As a sophomore, Cal used Dom in the platoon system as a relief guy. During his sophomore season, Dom started to emerge as more than just a defensive guy, starting to find the basket as well. During his junior season, Dom fought injuries — breaking his hand and spraining an ankle. Despite an injury plagued season, I think it was his best season yet. Dominique really showed up against Louisville by draining three 3-pointers in the victory.
What does Dominique bring to the 2016-2017 Cats?
As noted before, Dominique will be a key defensive guy especially with the departure of Charles Matthews. I look for Dom to have a key role off the bench. He may be used more in certain match-up situations.
More than that, I expect Dom to have a huge leadership role off the court. Kentucky will bring in five freshmen and Dom will have to step into the leadership role. I imagine he will be a quiet leader much like Darius Miller.
Dom also got really confident with his shooting last year and I look for that to grow especially with all the driving guards Kentucky has coming in. I couldn’t be more proud of Dominique and I’m excited to see him play this season.

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