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Another reason to root for Dominique Hawkins

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Dominique Hawkins is already a fan favorite for many reasons–his Kentucky roots, his relentless energy and work ethic, that megawatt smile–but one of the things I love most about him is how much he appreciates the uniform he wears.  Dominique’ journey to UK is special and has been documented many times, but when you realize just how far he and his family have come, it’s downright heartwarming.

Special thanks to KSR reader Susan, who sent me an article from the Summer 2013 edition of “Hometown News,” a newsletter for Home of the Innocents, a private, non-profit organization in Louisville that helps children and teens who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected.   Dominique’s mother, Denise, went to the Home of the Innocents when she was pregnant at age 15 with Dominique after being raised by an abusive stepfather.  Denise took part in a Pregnant and Parenting Teen program there while she continued to go to school.  Once Dominique was born, the two moved back to her mother’s home in Richmond, where Denise went to Job Corps to get her GED and complete a Certified Nursing Assistant program.  Her mother stayed home to take care of Dominique while she worked at a local nursing home.

Hometown News’ Meredith Pack writes this about the bond between Denise and Dominique, and what getting a scholarship from UK meant to the family:

Denise and Dominique have shared many joys in their life together, including welcoming four other children into the family. Their latest celebration was Dominique committing to attend the University of Kentucky and play on the basketball team beginning in the fall of 2013. “When he was five, he said wanted to play basketball. Every year we would ask what he wanted to do when he grew up and he would always say he wanted to be an NBA star. I made sure he stayed involved and he had a goal every time he moved up to a new team. In middle school, his AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) coach helped him toward becoming Mr. Basketball. Now he’s reached his next dream of being on the UK team. I’ve always been there for him and backed him up.” 

Willie Cauley-Stein admitted to reporters today that he had no idea who Dominique was coming in, but he’s proved that he’s invaluable to the team:

“I didn’t know who he was coming in. I honestly couldn’t tell you what he looked like, what his last name was coming in. But he can hoop. I love him to death too. He’s a great guy and he can hoop. If he can keep on hooping like that, we’re going to be all right.”

Dominique said that he still receives texts from friends and family back in Richmond about his new life as a Wildcat, which keeps him humble:

“It calmed down a little bit but still people are talking to me and texting me saying it’s crazy for me, I’m getting all this playing time and stuff like that. I’m just blessed to be able to be on the team and get the playing time that I’m getting.”

How can you not root for this kid?

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

36 Comments for Another reason to root for Dominique Hawkins

  1. UK
    4:09 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    The kid embodies everything a UK fan would want to be on the court….Except that he’s athletic and good at basketball.

  2. JaredCarterIsMyHomeboy
    4:10 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    He will be the glue that holds us together for the next 3 years I think. Don’t think we will see anywhere near the bad starts we’ve had for the last 2 years with his experience at PG coming back.

  3. 44 Stitches
    4:11 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    He’s by FAR my favorite player on the team.

  4. You seriously deleted my comment?
    4:14 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    It was a shot at Bobby Knight for Christ’s sake. A lame one, sure, but it’s not like this website isn’t against lame jokes about Bobby Knight, that’s for sure.

  5. BlueRedNeck
    4:15 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    We gather up a big load of toys and clothes every year and haul it down to Home of the Innocents. What an excellent cause, this foundation has helped out so many kids through the years.

    Wow, a mom at age 15! Glad to hear that Dominique’s mom was able to get things together and raise a great young man, but it is just sad to hear of children having children of their own. I don’t know if Dominique’s father stayed involved with him, but it’s sad to say that it’s uncommon for the fathers to take any kind of responsibility when these things happen. It’s a shame, and a major burden on our society. And I hate to say it, but the glamorization of the gangsta – NBA baller culture only contributes to it. Anyone who does not step up to be there in the life of a child that they bring into the world is a boy and not a man, IMO.

  6. theWilkman
    4:16 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    He’s living the dream we all had as children. I can’t wait to see what he accomplishes over the next few years.

  7. Sam
    4:20 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    BUT LOOK AT THE STATS. Numbers don’t lie and the numbers say he’s hurting our team when he’s on the court. Cal needs to WAKE UP.

    • BAdams
      4:25 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

      How is he hurting the team? He forces turnovers, he plays hard nosed defense, he comes up with loose balls. He gives the other guys energy just like Liggins and MKG did. He’s infectious on the court. No he may not fill up the stat sheet, but what he does doesnt show up in numbers. You are a fool if you think he shouldnt be on the court. Maybe you need to relearn the game of basketball.

    • Jake
      4:27 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink


      Numbers do not lie but they do not tell the whole story. Countless games he has came in and brought any energy that the other players were lacking. He never makes the selfish plays and he gives the most effort of any player on the court. Listen to all the comments from teammates and the coaches and you would notice you are oblivious to what he really brings.

    • kadizkat
      4:29 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

      Sam, as Samuel L Jackson would say, “Shut the fu… up”.

    • M
      4:41 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

      Hawkins does provide energy and that’s what this team is lacking. MKG and Liggins had the size and length to guard multiple positions. Hawkins is an okay defender. He gets lost at times. He does not play hard nosed defense. But he’s at least in defensive position. I think one good thing he did yesterday was that he at least attacked the zone at times off the dribble. They were sagging off of him, but at least he attacked it. I guess he’s sort of like Ruettiger. If Andrew had half the heart of Ruettiger he’d be an All-American. If Hawkins can continue to develop he’ll be a nice player over the next few years.

    • Rockfield, KY
      5:17 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

      Maybe you should check out what the numbers say about what the rest of the team does before he comes in the game versus what they do after he comes out. He gets the motor cranked up and without him this team would be in trouble. They’re all talent, but he’s the heart of the team.

    • Dee W.
      2:00 am January 10, 2014 Permalink

      Are you serious? Did you even watch that last game?

    • David
      8:48 am January 10, 2014 Permalink

      Sam you are an idiot! He is helping the team more than the twins.

  8. BAdams
    4:27 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    Hawkins very well could have his name in the rafters one day. I feel like he’s going to be a part of some great UK teams.

  9. BlueFan
    4:34 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    For those saying they can’t see improvement coming out of Camp Cal, I have to disagree. The team’s passing and getting out on the fast break was tremendously better. I could tell it was a point of emphasis off of opponent free throw attempts and missed field goal.

  10. Chaz
    4:35 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    You never know where life will lead you. A year ago who would have thought he would have been anything but practice fodder and end of game off the bench guy? On a team of all stars, your star is shining brightly. Go Dominique, Go Cats. Strive for Nine

  11. Lisa
    4:36 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    Dominique is a special kid. I root for him so hard when he’s in the game. HE IS KENTUCKY BASKETBALL! I’m thrilled he’s on the team. Go Cats!

  12. Axe Cop
    4:39 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    That State player is making a Cosby face.

  13. The Ed
    4:44 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    I Guarantee he helps get UK Championship #9 sometime in his career. He’s already overachieving. The comparison to Liggins-style play is a good one. It’s always great to have some in-state players, but to have one that can contribute consistently, makes this team fun to watch.

  14. St Ronnie was a moron
    4:46 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    Seriously MS Tyler, if you are going to link to a newsletter perhaps it would be appropriate to use the correct newsletter.

    • St Ronnie was a moron
      4:47 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

      Oh other than that it was a great article

    • Mrs. Tyler Thompson
      4:50 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

      Whoops, fixed.

    • St Ronnie was a moron
      4:51 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

      Good Job……
      as Always 🙂

  15. Steve
    4:49 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    The kid appreciates the opportunity that he has been given!
    These days so many do not! (not just kids)
    I appreciate his hustle, determination and his drive.
    His smile kinda looks like he’s having a great time too!

  16. Blue Jesus
    4:57 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    The great thing is, assuming nothing unexpected happens, he’ll be here four years. Assuming Cal stays, too, really, what are the odds he wins a championship at some point in his career, like 1/1?

  17. Barely got him
    5:37 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    If we get Wiggins he isn’t on the team. He was an absolute last resort for Cal. Cal can’t read character or understand the effort in-state players can bring to the team. That’s why Hood has rode the bench for four years despite being a better shooter than anyone currently on the team. And his D certainly can’t be any worse than our current guards. I’m glad Wiggins went to Kansas and now we get Hawkins for 4 years instead of a one-and-done.

    • Wake up
      7:30 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

      Wrong he was given a scholarship and committed at least 2 months before Wiggins announced. I guess the facts don’t match your agenda.

    • LexCathCat
      7:54 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

      I’m glad to have Hawkins, but you’re crazy if you think Jon Hood is a better shooter than James Young, Aaron Harrison, and probably Derek Willis.

    • bigblue091812
      11:02 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

      Thanks Wake up for correcting another (no doubt a loserville troll) about facts. Hawkins papers were signed before Wiggins made his wrong choice, I wonder what Wiggins would look like this year with a coach who knows how to handle one and dones. I think Wiggins would’ve been better off joining his brother at WSU than at KU. But back to Hawkins, I love to have a 6-5, 6-7, 6-10 and 7 foot team full of Hawkins to go with MIGHTY MOUSE. I love how the only things some fans can tell about a basketball player or game is reading a box score. I wonder if we’d be better off to have Hawkins starting at least the first 4-5 minutes of the games to get the energy flowing. Have idiots like Barely Got Him noticed that Cal is inserting him into the games earlier each of the last 3-4 games, there is a reason for that. He comes in last night to score our first field goal and then we started playing. If we have any success in the NCAA’s this year it will be because of Hawkins.

  18. Kittyfan
    7:27 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    What a son, and what a mother!!! Way to go!!!!!!

  19. Catfan
    9:19 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    I love to see Kentucky boys wear the Kentucky uniform! When you are from here, you understand the heritage and tradition. I believe Bluegrass Boys appreciate the honor of wearing the uniform and to them it means more than a holding zone for the draft.

  20. Dustin Smith
    9:24 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    My son conner attended the Madison Central basketball camp last summer and watched Dominique at rupp in the sweet 16 tourney in route to the state championship. Met him during the camp. Nice young man. Go Cats! God Bless.

  21. W.W.B.B.N.D?
    10:10 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    Keep making us proud Dominique!

  22. Willy Maze Haze
    11:13 pm January 9, 2014 Permalink

    Wow, so his mom is my age? I’m 33 and can barely grasp the fact that my wife is pregnant with our first. I feel like I just left college – I can’t imagine having a kid in college.

    Good for Dominique & his mom for striving for their dreams. Best of luck to them.

  23. MC
    12:08 am January 10, 2014 Permalink

    I’m proud of Hawkins. I always sit up in my chair when he is in the game because the kid cares. So exciting to see a Kentucky kid excel and actually care about the uniform at what it means. Anyone from the Commonwealth understands that.