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A Hypothetical Recruiting Scenario: Gordon or Hawkins?



Hypothetically speaking, if Kentucky had just one more scholarship to give and Andrew Wiggins decides to play elsewhere, who would you most want to take the final spot? This is purely a hypothetical situation, and of course Andrew Wiggins is Kentucky’s priority right now and very well may end up a Cat. However, if Wiggins doesn’t end up a Cat, do you go with the best available player for the short term or do you consider someone who may be a better long-term option? In most cases, I think most would agree that recruiting the best players is usually always the best option. An Elite Eight, Final Four and National Title were won in Calipari’s first three years by recruiting the best available players. Andrew Wiggins is one of those players that can help, and maybe even assure that a ninth National Championship banner is raised from Rupp’s rafters next spring.

But lets just pretend for a second that Wiggins may decide to play elsewhere. Beyond Andrew Wiggins, should UK take another blue-chip prospect, or would the Cats be better off signing someone who could develop into the next Darius Miller? With what is already considered the best recruiting class in the history of the sport, which type of player would be more valuable to the program? If it is down to only one spot (hypothetically, depending on what happens with the NBA Draft) would it be best to give that scholarship to someone who is assured to be playing here beyond the 2013-14 season? Kentucky could lose about nine players in next year’s NBA draft and Aaron Gordon could add to the list, but then what happens in 2014-15 and beyond? Is Dominique Hawkins, an in-state kid with dreams of playing at Kentucky (and offers from elsewhere, including the SEC), worth consideration for a final scholarship offer over a more talented player who could be the eighth, ninth or tenth to leave Lexington for the NBA next spring?




It’s not an easy question to answer, but ultimately the answer depends on a number of variables. Who leaves for the NBA Draft? How would Aaron Gordon fit into the rotation next year? Does Gordon’s impact on next year’s team outweigh what Dominique Hawkins impact would be over four years? Could UK win the National Championship without him, and if so, is it worth taking on another very talented player who could be gone after a year when he may not be a necessary piece of the puzzle? Possibly, Gordon takes longer to make the next step to the NBA, like Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb and some members of this year’s team. There is no guarantee that Gordon stays only one year if he comes to Kentucky, but Dominique Hawkins would provide some stability in the program along with Derek Willis and possibly Kyle Wiltjer and Ryan Harrow beyond next season. I’m not suggesting Calipari should change his recruiting strategies. In fact, Cal has made similar moves in the past (signing Wiltjer and Willis) with the future in mind.

Whatever Kentucky would do in this situation, it’s probably a win-win situation either way: add to the most talented recruiting class in history with another top-10 player, or add some stability to the future? Maybe it all works out and Calipari somehow adds both. Or maybe we just sign Wiggins. Kentucky has a lot of options to consider, and options A, B and C are better than any other school’s option X, Y or Z. Whatever the outcome, Kentucky will have the best recruiting class in history and Big Blue Nation has a lot to be excited about.

Article written by John Wilmhoff

Former beer vendor, college mascot and ESPN editor. This spring, you can also find me blogging about the Reds on Follow me on Twitter: @JohnWilmhoff

64 Comments for A Hypothetical Recruiting Scenario: Gordon or Hawkins?

  1. lelelelelelelelelelelelelelelelelele
    9:34 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    no disrespect to Hawkins but id take Gordon every time, the dude is better than Blake Griffin.

  2. Lil c
    9:35 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    I think Hawkins would be a great addition to this class. I also think Wiggins is FSU bound.

  3. Lil c
    9:36 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Gordon looks good, but I think he’s staying on the west coast!

  4. Choices
    9:37 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    If it absolutely HAD to come down between the two, I’d take Gordon everytime.

    However, I desperately want Hawkins. Not just because he is a special player but because he truly wants to play here. Not because he knows Cal will put him in the NBA but because he wants to wear “KENTUCKY” across his chest.

    My fear is that if we dont take him – he may end up being the next Chris Lofton situation.

  5. odrivero
    9:39 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Unfortunately, its like the NFL, and you take the best athlete available.

  6. Rex
    9:41 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Relax BBN, DH will be a cat.

  7. Rex
    9:41 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Relax BBN, DH will be a cat

  8. UK
    9:42 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Gordon won’t come here now that we have Randle.

    Also, because Wiggins doesn’t like the spotlight, Kentucky should be the favorite in that regard not the underdog. Think about it, if he comes here, he can blend in with other superstars. If he goes elsewhere, he is the centerpiece on full display.

    But go ahead and get Hawkin too.. Go Cats.

  9. Mike
    9:43 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    How many wins would Cal have if he was coaching the lowly recruits that play for Florida Gulf Coast? I’ll set the over under at 15.

  10. JoshB
    9:43 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Hawkins IMO he’s a solid underrated player he’s gotta will to win and he knows what it means to wear a UK jersey and the fact that he has said that UK is his “dream” school so I think a 4year investment is better that a 1 year promise

  11. Mack
    9:44 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Not certain if this article interview with Wiggins’ high school coach helps or is just a smoke screen concerning Wiggins:

  12. L1C4
    9:45 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    I think Cal should recruit more players like Hawkins. He should have a whole roster of them 😉

  13. Hindsite
    9:46 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Cals team with Harrelson proves you can have role players and succeed. If we cant win with the class coming and what we anticipate coming back, then Gordon wont matter. If Gordon wants to come, fine. Great, if not, you dont lose sleep and take Hawkins. I think Cal is going after his undefeated season, then he will ride off in the sunset.

  14. Deepblue
    9:46 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Rooting hard for Duke tonight. I want all guns locked and loaded in the Midwest for the Tards.

  15. Wildcatsteeler
    9:48 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    This is a very easy choice for me. You take Hawkins who is an in-state player that dreams of wearing that jersey. Never mind that he’s completely underrated.

  16. the space between liza minnellis eyes
    9:49 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Are you guys serious? Gordon. Day in day out. No matter the scenario. Look, Hawkins is good but if it came down to him or a top 10 talent I would NEVER pick Hawkins. I can’t believe this is up for debate. Is this a joke? Where’s Ashton?

  17. Blue Jesus
    9:50 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    If we get Wiggins then I say Hawkins for continuity given that I think we would have more than enough talent for the coming season.

  18. the space between liza minnellis eyes
    9:52 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    @15 Hawkins may be underrated but he’s not even a top 100 kid and you’re going to say he deserves a roster spot over top 10 talent? There is a reason you coach from your couch and not the sidelines

  19. hammer
    9:52 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    My advice to Cal: Go get two 6′ 7″ 250 lb beasts from the juco ranks that EMBRACE defense and rebounding …skills that MOST high school stars don ‘t want any part of but are critical to winning on the big stage.

  20. Jarweed
    9:53 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Marshall Henderson for 3. Makes a toking a joint motion and toss.

  21. Chad
    9:53 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Darrius miller was a 5 star player coming out of high school. Comparing Hawkins to him is unfair. I’m so tired of people romanticizing players just cause they are from Kentucky. We had hood and poison this year, did us a lt of good.

  22. KYBlueChip
    9:53 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    I’d take Hawkins. The kid could be a lot like Miller which is what a Coach Cal team needs year in and year out. He knows Ky basketball and I could see him being the guy in the gym going hard, making the others follow his lead. Besides, I also think Gordon is stayin on the West Coast. Hawkins will be a guy we get a couple of good years out of, maybe even 4 which is great because he plays the point and could really grow into a leader and great floor general.

  23. Hindsite
    9:53 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Get Gordon, hope someone gets an academic scholarship. I think Gordon would fit better than Wiggins. But id take either one. How about Willis just redshirt? He wont see the court anyway if any come back

  24. Steady
    9:55 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Julius Mays!

  25. Just saying
    9:55 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    I’m telling you right now. I have coached against Hawkins, while he’s above average, especially for a “home grown” kid, he is NOT a D1talent. Offer him a walk-on, if he decides to go elsewhere so be it

  26. hmm
    9:57 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    lets see someone who draws comparisons to blake the great griffin or someone who gets comparisons to???????

  27. Jackson Purchase
    10:01 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Hawkins everytime

  28. Catlanta
    10:03 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Gordon all day. Anyone who would want Hawkins over Gordon is a complete idiot

  29. michael
    10:07 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    you are an idiot Gordon for sure. Seriously cant believe you wasted your time writing this

  30. BigKatHead
    10:09 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    20 – glad you caught that – nothing but class for ol’ Marshal!! Wonder why TBS showed the heavy honeys making the ‘land shark’ instead of the ‘toke-n-throw?? What a winner…Big Cuzz got scewered by the media for a lot less!!

  31. the space between liza minnellis eyes
    10:11 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    @25 thank you for a rational thought. FOR ALL YOU COMPARING HIM TO DARIUS please stop. Apples and Oranges. Darius was a big prospect, Hawkins is low level D1. Plus ignoring the whole fact that he is tiny compared to other legit UK recruits at his position. If you MUST make comparisons, why not go with Epps instead. Much more lateral comparison

  32. mashburnfan1
    10:11 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    UCLA made it official. I love how when this was reported yesterday the school says it does “deny the report” then the next day fire him.

  33. dumb question
    10:15 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    In case people forgot (or did not know)Hawkins dropped 30 when he played Wiggins (with Wiggins guarding him) and 20+ on the twins.

  34. UK class of 78
    10:16 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Take Hawkins for the much needed PG depth because we got enough bigs coming already. Nuff said.

  35. UK class of 78
    10:18 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Thank you 33 for the reminder. Nuff said.

  36. dumb question
    10:21 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t know how Hawkins has been overlooked, he’s an athletic guard that is tough physically and mentally (if you can find video of the semi final game from the sweet 16, he took over in overtime and scored the last 14 points of the game)

  37. mashburnfan1
    10:23 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    33} I did not know that. I have seen the twins play a few games and they were very lazy on defense and especially on getting back on defense. Only saw Wiggins on tv so can’t say and have not seen Hawkins play at all. This is a mute point as Gordon is not going to UK anyways. I love players that play for the love of the game and school though. This kid sounds like he needs to be a part of the BBN so Cal needs to make it happen.

  38. dumb question
    10:27 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink


    I hope they offer Hawkins a scholarship, he would be a good addition to the Kentucky roster. Basically think of Hawkins as an athletic Polson. He could offer solid backup minutes if not work his way into the regular rotation.

  39. Mike
    10:29 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    I also post under the name oldschool

  40. Japrick
    10:30 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Assuming this scholarship is the one currently possessed by Jon Hood, I say, let him keep it.

  41. RealCatsFan
    10:31 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    30, maybe that is why Henderson could get no love from the officials when he got hacked on that last shot he took with the score tied and about 12 seconds left.

  42. Jarweed
    10:32 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    30 – Ole Miss got out smoked or out toked by “The Southwest Philly Phloater”, so the Lasalle player who hit the winning shot said.

  43. mashburnfan1
    10:34 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    41} I would like to see that again, no doubt he got hacked but I want to see if shot clock ran out before he attempted the putback. Either way glad he is gone and hope after the rant he does about the foul we won’t have to hear about him till next year.

  44. Jacob from
    10:35 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    why in the world would we need another slashing forward when we would have marcus lee julius randle and alex poythress? we need a backup to andrew harrison. something we dont have is pg depthband hawkins would be perfect for that.

  45. Bleed Blue
    10:38 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    @33 Hawkins did not drop 30 on Wiggins cause Madison Central did not play Hunington, he did drop 27 on the Twins and afterwards Andrew said “He’s got game”. With that said as of now we lead of Wiggins over UNC. FSU is out of it. We lead 70/30 over UNC and getting Randle only helped. I expect him to announce at the Jordan Brand or on April 6th. Harrow is leaving and Kyle is not so don’t even say he is. If Hood leaves and Polson goes back to walk on or both take walk on spot we would have an extra Scholly for Hawkins, but if Hood doesn’t take walk on and stays and gets scholly we don’t get Hawkins.

  46. Mack
    10:42 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Could not one or both Hood and Polson have full academic scholarships for next season.

  47. hammer
    10:43 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Signing as many five stars as possible is great BUT defense, rebounding, and a coach that inspires players to play hard for the TEAM wins the big games…can you say LOUISVILLE?

  48. Harold
    10:44 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Kentucky won in Cals first 3 years by having experienced players. Patrick Patterson, Deandre Liggins, Darious Miller, Josh Harrelson and a few others. Calpari himself even hinted that he needed experienced players to be successful after this season was over. This is the first year Cal has had no experience and it showed. I want a few kids who will be at UK for a few years, not a few months.
    We need both to be successful. It is too much pressure on a bunch of 18 yr olds. Recruit Hawkins. As for those who criticize Polson or Hood, they may not be the most talented on the team, but had more heart than anyone else thats for sure.
    UK couldnt win an NIT game this year with a bunch of freshmen and no experience. Cal has not proved he can win with freshman only because this year was this FIRST UK team with no experience.

  49. Jules
    10:48 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink


  50. Bleed Blue
    10:55 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    @48 What you, just like many people, fail to realize is that this past years freshmen were not anywhere near as talented as Cal’s last 3 classes. This class was the weakest in the past 15 years, and next years is considered the best class possibly ever in term of talent. Case in point Noel was ranked 9th or 10th by several recruiting outlets, and then went to 1st when he reclassified. None of the players outside of Noel that we signed would even be in the top 20 in the 2013 class.

  51. Eric K
    11:00 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    #45 sounds about right but it more like 95/5 CATS!! WIGGINS WILL be a WIDCAT! GO CATS!!

  52. Eric K
    11:02 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink


  53. Cokely
    11:17 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Bleed Blue. Where are you hearing he cut FSU?

  54. Blue Cat
    11:47 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Hawkins and Wiggins.

  55. yevkazim
    12:17 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    Would any of you want Hawkins if he wasn’t from KY? It seems as though as a high school player, he compares to Ryan Harrow. Similar rating, similar size, similar stats. So many people are so down on Harrow, and he has experience now with UK, put that didnt help much. I just am concerned about a repeat situation.

  56. Rae
    12:51 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    55. Hawkins seems mentally tougher though. I’m down on Harrow because that mystery illness was still never fully explained, and Cal has made it clear he doesn’t entirely trust Harrow, given the number of times he lost his starting position this season.

  57. Sir Charles
    6:16 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    Hawkins is trubible. No way he is UK caliber and any one who thinks he can play at uk is blinded by the fact he’s from the Lexington area. He’s compairable to Hickey from LSU could he a soild SEC player but is a step below UK material. You people do understand Cal doesn’t get the best from Kentucky he gets the best in the country.
    I might be wrong but a player who starts on scholarship like Hood isn’t eligible to be a walk on is he. Didn’t they change that rule because of Estill?

  58. niaps
    7:51 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    This is absolutely a no brainer. Say bye bye to Harrow and take Hawkins. He is tougher, smarter , and a Kentucky kid who knows what it means to have that name on the front of his jersey. Cal cannot let this kid go anywhere else or he loses a great player by his junior or senior year. Gotta make an opening for him not make him an option.

  59. YO
    7:57 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    #45 I like your enthusiasm, BUT i doubt wiggins comes here, id say its UNC or FSU but thats me! Also can you site some resources where its 70/30 right now or is that just a hunch?

  60. Jackson Purchase
    10:27 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    @45, no way Harrow leaves. Remember you only have five years after high school to use your 4 years. He has already transferred and sat out one year no way he leaves and sits out another year unless he goes D2.

  61. Lance
    10:33 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    I would take Hawkins. He is a great ball player with a ton of heart and would provide, as you said, a Darius Miller type player to develop and guide the later freshmen along. He would also be the type player who plays for the name on the front of the jersey. No problems with Gordon cause he is awesome, but at the point this class is at talent wise, I say go ahead and start planning for the future.

  62. Skeps
    10:58 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    Take Hawkins please. We have enough dunkers. How about recruiting some more shooters, like Hawkins.

  63. Tom Blevins
    11:34 am March 25, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t think it is at all helpful to Kentucky basketball to have an article like this and invite comments from the fans as to which of two players they would rather have. First, I don’t want to hurt any players feelings, whether or not he ever comes to Kentucky. If either or both Gordon and hawkins read this, it could have a negative impact on their recruiting. Second, it is Coach Calipari’s decision who to offer a scholarship to. it’s not mine, it’s not yours. I trust Cal to make the right decision. He has a pretty good track record. Third, we don’t know what the scholarship situation is going to be at this time. Cauley-Stein indicated that he needed to ruturn, but said that he would discus his situation with his family before making a final decision. Goodwin and Poytress were more positive about returning, but remember, these statements were made right after losing the final game of the season. I hope all theree of these young men do come back, but won’t won’t hold it against them if they decide to leave. We should know more after they talk to cal this week, and even more after April 16th, the final day to withdraw from the draft. Right now it’s all just speculation.

  64. Bleed Blue
    3:57 pm March 25, 2013 Permalink

    @59 It is what my guy told me, he said that up until the UNC visit that it was all UK and FSU. After his parents came to both visits they realized that UK and UNC were the best choices for him so he pretty much eliminated FSU, it won’t be made public, but it is down to UK and UNC with us leading. Things could change, but I have had separate individual tell me since Dec that Wiggins was ours.
    @60 Harrow graduates in May, he graduates in 3 years. So he will be a graduate student and be able to play right away as long as he goes to a school with a major UK doesn’t offer.