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By LARRY VAUGHT
This is turning into quite a week for Madison Central standout Dominique Hawkins.
He led his team to a win over Wayne County in the state tournament Wednesday and then had a sensational second half here Friday to help the Indians outlast Holmes 65-61 in overtime to reach Saturday’s semifinals. He had 31 points on 10-for-27 shooting — he was only 3-for-14 the first half — along with 12 rebounds, two assists and two blocks while playing every second of the game.
It was also the second straight game that Kentucky coach John Calipari was in Rupp Arena to watch him. And after Wednesday’s game, Hawkins even got an invite to UK’s practice.
“It was fun watching practice, too,” said Hawkins. “I met coach Calipari. He was telling me we had a great team. He told me just to keep working and they would keep looking at me.”
Hawkins said he “did not know yet” if a scholarship offer might be coming from Kentucky. However, he said having Calipari and assistant Orlando Antigua come back for a second game led him to believe that UK was indeed intersted.
Hawkins, a UK fan, was a bit overwhelmed when he got the text from Antigua after Wednesday’s game inviting him to practice. He didn’ even have Antigua’s name save in his phone contact list and also had to get permission to miss watching the Holmes-PRP game so he could attend practice.
“They looked like NBA players to me. They were dunking and hitting 3’s. It was great to be there,” Hawkins said. “It was like going to a concert and meeting somebody famous and passing out. I could not believe it. It was like a dream.”
Hawkins said he did pay attention to what UK point guards Ryan Harrow and Jarrod Polson were doing at practice and thought “I could do what they are doing” as he watched. He also said Calipari and Antigua told him they would keep coming to watch him play as long as Central kept winning.
What they saw is an athletic, competitive player who plays with a passion that has been missing at UK too often this season. He didn’t hange his head after a bad shooting half. He didn’t back off taking big shots. He didn’t shy away from contact to go inside and score or rebound. In the fourth quarter, Central had 14 points, and he had them all.
While he says UK is his “dream school” among those interested in him, he didn’t convey that message to Calipari or Antigua.
“I did not say that to them and maybe I should have. But I hope they will see it on TV or Twitter,” Hawkins said.
Coach Allen Feldhaus said any school, including Kentucky, that gets Hawkins will be happy.
“He’s a great player and great person. I don’t see how anybody, including Kentucky, could go wrong with him,” Feldhaus said.