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Last Game Heroics: Dominique Hawkins

When a Kentucky player has a standout game it is very unlikely that it will go unnoticed. But what we don’t see a lot of is a look back at their beginnings and the people who helped get them to that moment. Each week I’ll be covering Kentucky’s athletes as they make their way to the front of the pack and getting some perspective from the folks who knew them before they rocked Kentucky blue…their high school coaches.

What better place to start than with Kentucky-native, Dominique Hawkins?

dominique-hawkins

Player: Dominique Hawkins, Junior

High School: Madison Central High School (Richmond, Kentucky)

Coach: Allen Feldhaus

Breakout Game: Kentucky vs. Louisville 2015 (W)

 

Hawkins saw a significant amount of minutes in Kentucky’s win over Louisville last Saturday. It’s not his first breakout game (as we saw last season) but it has been his shining moment of the ’15-’16 season that we can hope for more of moving forward. Scoring three of his four attempts from behind the three and scrapping for a block and two steals, Hawkins helped keep morale alive in Rupp Arena.

It’s good to see a hometown hero rallying his team, and that’s not something Hawkins is new to. Hawkins’ high school basketball coach, Allen Feldhaus, shared with me his favorite memory of the Wildcat.

“My favorite story about Dominique was his 8th grade year and we were playing at Bryan Station and our leading scorer broke his nose and we had others in foul trouble and I decided to put him in his first Varsity game in a hostile environment in a close game.  He went in and scored 8 points and looked like a seasoned veteran.  I knew then we had a very special young man to coach for the next 4 years,” Feldaus said.

Hawkins has the admiral quality of making the most of the minutes he is given by Calipari, something necessary for a young team. Feldaus noted that there were many doubters when Hawkins signed with Kentucky. “I was just excited that he was going to get the opportunity to prove those skeptics wrong. My expectations for him personally were for him to be a contributor and a teammate.” And contribute he has.

His former coach didn’t hesitate to brag on Hawkins’ humble nature, on and off the floor. “He is the uptime team player that understands the value of hard work and playing great defense,” Feldaus said.

And when Cal called on Hawkins to be a defensive threat in the NCAA Tournament his freshman year, Feldhaus knew that “Coach trusted him also.” 

Feldhaus coached Hawkins to a State Championship his senior year of high school, where the player was give MVP honors, and kickstarted the confidence Hawkins would need to play on a title-winning team.

“I think he has gotten his confidence back now {following his injury} and I pray that he will run with it. I truly believe if he can continue to get extended minutes, he will only get better.”

If Cal continues to put Hawkins in, as we have seen, he will utilize those minutes to give the Cats that boost of energy they need be it in the form of a shot from behind he arc or a defensive stop and steal.

Last year the 2013 Kentucky Mr. Basketball “roared for 22.” In 2016, this Cat may be roaring for a great deal more.

Article written by Kelsey Mattingly

Drew Franklin is my spirit animal. @kelseyKSR