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UK commit Hawkins was a fan of Keith Bogans and Tayshaun Prince

By Keith Taylor, The Winchester Sun

RICHMOND — Minutes before he announced his college of choice Wednesday morning, Dominique Hawkins reached under the table and pulled out a University of Kentucky cap, ending speculation concerning his future plans. It was a moment he had been waiting for the lifelong Kentucky fan.

Hawkins kept the secret to himself, mother Denise and girlfriend Sara Shackelford for nearly a month. Hawkins admitted that it was hard to keep silent on his intentions, but he knew of three people in his inner circle who wouldn’t reveal the Wildcats had an offer waiting on the table a week after leading the Indians to the state title.

“They kept the secret,” he said. “I could trust them. (Madison Central coach Allen) Feldhaus already knew, so I didn’t have to tell him. They (my girlfriend and mom) were shocked. My mom was amazed they gave me an offer. She was proud of me and told me that she loved me.”

As soon as he lifted the cap from underneath the table, Hawkins breathed a sigh of relief. More than anything, Hawkins’ revelations on his plans to sign with the Wildcats lifted a burden off his shoulders and gave the Madison Central product and Mr. Basketball standout a chance to focus on his upcoming plans, which include appearances in the Derby Festival Classic at Freedom Hall in Louisville on April 19. In addition, Hawkins will compete against the best players from the Hoosier state in the annual Kentucky-Indiana All-Star series this summer.

Minutes after John Calipari offered Hawkins a scholarship after the Indians visited a practice session at the Joe Craft Center last month, Hawkins wasn’t sure what to make of the offer from the Kentucky coach.

“I had to think about it (at the time) to know if he did give me an offer, because he really didn’t say it,” he recalled. “After he left, I was like, ‘I think he (offered) me a scholarship. Then coach (Allen) Feldhaus told me that I had one.”

Even though Calipari had made the offer, Hawkins admitted that he “had a little thinking to do” when it came to other offers from instate schools such as Western Kentucky. If the Cats hadn’t made a the late push for Hawkins during Central’s successful run in the boys Sweet Sixteen, Hawkins likely would have landed in Bowling Green.

“I really did like Western, they had been really recruiting me hard,” he said. “It was the best recruiting they ever did on a kid. I appreciated what they did, but once Kentucky came (into the picture), it was kind of a no-brainer that I was going to go there.”

Hawkins has always been a Kentucky fan and remembers the Kentucky teams from the early 2000s, featuring Tayshaun Prince and Keith Bogans.

“I was a Keith Bogans fan,” he said. “I don’t know why, but I just liked the way he played and could shoot. And then Tayshaun, he definitely was one of my favorites, because of how long he was. Every time he dunked, I would go outside and tried to copy one of his dunks, because I idolized him so much. Those were probably my favorite Kentucky teams (while growing up).”

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9 comments

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  1. Larry Pup

    I am glad he is a “wildcat” and not a” hill topper.” I am going to be pulling for him big time. He is a Kentucky boy.

  2. LindaS

    I’m happy a Mr. Kentucky is a Kentucky Wildcat!

  3. Anonymous

    If UK took Mr. Kentucky basketball every year there would still be 9 scholly’s available. In the age of “one and done” I see no downside.

  4. Karen Sprinkle

    His favorite players are two of my favorites as well. I don’t think I’ll ever forget watching Prince with the shooting clinic against North Carolina (and hitting the last second shot against Florida since I was actually at that game). I still believe that had not Bogans been injured in the NCAA game prior to the Elite 8 matchup with Marquette, Kentucky would have had another national championship.
    Congrats to D Hawk and welcome to the Big Blue Family!

    1. UKFMLY

      Ditto on the Bogans Injury

  5. David

    I hope He dosen’t get lost in the shuffle like John Hood and Jarred Polson will.

    1. Andy

      Hawkins is not a Polson. I think the fact Polson plays is a testament to both his hard work and Calipari’s desire to win with the best players.

      Remember that Witjer is the McD guy. Yet, Will CS got a greater number of minutes down the stretch. Hood also played some strong minutes.

      If he can play, he will play. There is always a need for a 6’1″ guard who is quick and strong to handle the Siva’s of the world.

      Go Cats.

  6. Nomeatonmytaco

    What a great time to be a Cats fan the news just keeps getting better.
    As far as favorite players my pick is Jorts shows how far hard work can take you.

  7. UKFMLY

    If he continues to try to emulate those guys he will be successful. KB went in the second round and is still in the league and Prince is starting for Memphis. Those two guys had the work ethic to make it in a tough league especially Bogans who took Reece Gains'(a ul little brother) spot after on year in orlando and Gains was never seen in the NBA after his 1st contract. Bogans like Liggins, Darius, and Harrleson are proof positive if you are willing to out work EVERYONE around you there is a VERY good life after college in the NBA.

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