By LARRY VAUGHT
Could this be the week that Madison Central guard Dominique Hawkins, Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball, finally learns if will get the scholarship offer from Kentucky that he obviously wants?
Madison Central coach Allen Feldhaus said Saturday there was “nothing new” between UK and Hawkins, who averaged 20.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game for the 32-5 Indians last season. In the state tournament, he averaged 26.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in four wins.
The 6-1 guard is not a McDonald’s All-American, but he is a fierce competitor and seemed to earn a spot in UK coach John Calipari’s heart with his intense play in the state at the same time the Wildcats were collapsing at the end of their season.
“We would all like to see happen and have got our fingers crossed,” said Feldhaus.
Kentucky found out last week that two players — Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress — would stay at UK for their sophomore seasons while freshman Archie Goodwin is bolting for the NBA and Ryan Harrow is transferring. With seven freshman recruits to go with Poythress, Cauley-Stein and Kyle Wiltjer, that’s just 10 of UK’s available 13 scholarships. The Cats are still in the race for Andrew Wiggins, the nation’s top prep player, but even if Wiggins says yes that would just take up 11 scholarships. So it seems there is room for Hawkins, who showed at the Marshall County Hoop Fest he could be a handful in practice for twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison.
“In big games, you can always tell he is ready to go. He likes to prove something,” Feldhaus said. “We were not very good at the time of the Hoop Fest but he kept us in the game with his play. Nothing intimidates him. Teammates asked him if he thought he could play at Kentucky and he thinks he can fit in and contribute anywhere. He has a lot of confidence in his play, and should. He doesn’t show a lot of emotion, but he’s got confidence.”
Feldhaus knows what UK basketball is about because his father, Allen Sr., and brother, Deron, both played there. He thinks Hawkins is the type of player who belongs at Kentucky.
“I know the type of kid he is. He is the most humble young man I have ever coached. He is always team first, self second,” the Madison Central coach said. “When we were playing teams it was obvious we were better than, the deferred to teammates. When the big lights came on, that’s when he was at his best. Coach Calipari liked his toughness, but he is pretty explosive and has game in him. Calipari sees a lot of (current NBA guard Eric) Bledsoe in him because he is so strong and physical.
“And he handles himself so well on and off the court. He always has that big smile. I think the entire state has fallen in love with the way he has handled everything with Kentucky.”
Hawkins, who will play in the Kentucky-Ohio all-star game this weekend and the Derby Classic April 19, was on spring break last week and put off any college plans until he got back to see what UK might do. Some have speculated he might be asked to be a walk-on for a year and then go on scholarship even though he has several Division I offers and more could be coming.
“I don’t think Dominique Hawkins is a walk-on. I hope it does not come to that,” Feldhaus said. “I don’t know what else he can do to prove himself. He is not a walk-on player.
“Kentucky has been very up front with us. We know they have been dealing with a lot of stuff and Dominique has let it be known he wants to be a Wildcat. We’re just waiting to see what happens.”