After announcing his decision to attend UK, Dominique Hawkins spent some time with the media. First, he answered the question on everyone’s mind: yes, he will have a full-ride scholarship at UK and he actually found out the day that the Madison Central went to UK’s practice after winning the State Championship.
Orlando Antigua called Dominique yesterday to wish him well during today’s announcement and told him that he better be ready to compete, because no one, including the McDonald’s All-Americans coming in, will be guaranteed a starting spot.
Does Hawkins consider himself a great player? “I guess I’m a great player now that Kentucky offered me, it’s amazing.”
Hawkins has played against some of his future teammates before. He scored 29 in Madison Central’s game against the Harrison Twins’ Travis High, and based on that, he knows he can compete with them: “I showed them what I’ve got.” He said that he thinks next year’s practices are going to be “really fun,” and that he’ll improve just from practicing against such great talent every day.
What is Kentucky getting in Hawkins? “They’re getting a tough-nosed point guard, a guy who’s learning how to be a leader and is going to be a leader and a guy that can get his team involved.” Above all, Hawkins just wants to be “a player who can help the team.” After this season, there have never been sweeter words.
When asked if he thought getting a scholarship to UK would be possible two to three months ago, Hawkins was honest and said no, crediting his team’s amazing run in the Sweet Sixteen for getting him on Cal’s radar. What also helped? His cousin and current UK undergrad assistant Marquis Estill putting a good word in for him with Calipari, along with Calipari’s dentist, who lives in Richmond. (At least something good came out of all that dental work Cal had done late in the season.)
It was hard not to smile when Hawkins described how his life would change now that he’s headed to one of the elite programs in the country. He confessed that he’s never really traveled anywhere outside of the state except Florida, and coming to Kentucky would give him a chance to “see the world.” If UK hadn’t have offered him a scholarship, Hawkins said that he would probably have chosen Western Kentucky; his mother said that staying in Kentucky was a big factor for their family.
Hawkins’ coach, Allen Feldhaus Jr., couldn’t have been prouder of his former player, and for weeks has said that “he is nobody’s walk-on.” Feldhaus also said that Calipari told him that watching Hawkins and his teammates play in the Sweet 16 inspired him to be a better coach, and that while his initial interest in him was a favor to Madison Central, after seeing watching them play, Cal said that Hawkins was doing him a favor.
What did Cal say when he offered Hawkins a spot? “Do you know what you’re in for?” Hard work and the chance of a lifetime, I’d say.