Interest picking up for senior in Kentucky

Dominique Hawkins (Jeff Drummond)

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Dominique Hawkins was the big story during the first day of action at the Kentucky boys Sweet 16, as a pair of head coaches stopped by to check him out.

As the season winds down college coaches are searching for potential options among available prospects. One player that is starting to pick up some steam is Richmond (Ky.) Madison Central standout Dominique Hawkins.

During the opening round of the Kentucky boys Sweet 16, Hawkins went for 25 points on 11-for-17 shooting. He also tossed out three assists and reeled in three rebounds.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound guard is an impressive athlete. Although he does play some on the ball for Madison Central, Hawkins is tracking as a two-guard or possible combination guard at the next level.

Hawkins is currently entertaining scholarship offers from Western Kentucky, Morehead State, Tennessee Tech and Valparaiso, although he said he hasn't Valpo in a while.

Purdue, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Louisville have also shown varying degrees of interest.

"It's going great right now," he said of his recruitment. "I'm getting looked at a lot better than the beginning of the season. It's just going incredibly."

Kentucky coach John Calipari and a pair of assistants watched Hawkins on Wednesday. WKU coach Ray Harper and an assistant from Morehead State were also on hand.

Hawkins said the interest from UK started recently.

"My mom talked to Marquis Estill and he told me that all the staff might end up coming, but I wasn't for sure if they were coming," he said. "But I kind of knew that they might show up."

Hawkins and Estill, who joined UK's staff at the beginning of the season, are cousins.

"I think he put the bug in their ear about me," Hawkins said. "I think that's one of the reasons they are on me."

Hawkins stopped by Kentucky's practice on Wednesday evening. Kentucky is also expected to watch him again on Friday in the second round of the state tournament.

"They talked to coach to me about an offer," Hawkins said. "They've got one left. Hopefully they might give it to me, but they might not."

"It would be great," Hawkins said when asked about a potential UK offer. "It's been my dream school since I was a little kid in diapers. I was watching them on TV and cheering for them. I'm still a fan of Kentucky."

It's evident that Western Kentucky has prioritized Hawkins. He said they were the first school to offer him a scholarship.

"Western was basically the first school to offer me and we talk at least twice a week almost since the beginning of the school year," Hawkins said. "It's just a good relationship with them that I have."

"I've been on a visit there," he added. "I think I went last year, my junior year during the summer."

Louisville had approached Hawkins about a preferred walk-on spot. When asked if he would entertain a walk-on offer from any school, Hawkins said he would decline.

"Not really," he said. "I'm not interested in that."

For now, Hawkins is focused on trying to win a state title. Hawkins and Madison Central play Covington (Ky.) Holmes in the second round of the tournament on Friday.

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