Calipari isn’t in a position to guarantee Hawkins a scholarship for next season. The UK coach is still waiting on uncommitted high school stars Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon, and the future plans of several of his underclassmen remain up in the air.
Fortunately, the article also suggests that Hawkins intends to wait for things to develop before making up his mind, and it’s pretty clear he isn’t walking on anywhere. There’s no real reason why he should, he’s got some fine offers and will be getting more soon.
Hawkins could get a ride if UK whiffs on Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, and Aaron Gordon, but that isn’t very likely. Another way would be if all 4 Kentucky freshmen this year declare for the NBA draft. Let’s take a look at the scholarship situation just to clear things up:
Division I schools have up to 13 available basketball scholarships.
UK currently has 13 players on the team, three of whom are walk-ons. Two players with scholarships, Twany Beckham and Julius Mays, are exhausting their eligibility this year. If we ignore the walk-ons, that leaves eight players holding scholarships, including former walk-on Jarrod Polson.
Kentucky currently has six incoming players to whom it has promised scholarships: Andrew and, , Derek Willis, James Young, and Dakari Johnson. All but Johnson have signed National Letters of Intent. That makes a total of 14 scholarships now required if everyone stays in school.
The rest of this article assumes Nerlens Noel, likely a top 5 draft pick, will choose to move on to the NBA. The rest of the scenarios will revolve around what the other players do.
Wild card 1: Both Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson are on course to graduate as early as this year. If that happens, they would have to enroll in graduate classes. If one or both do not, then one or two more scholarships would become immediately available.
Wild card 2: Jon Hood returning next year on scholarship
requires that Kentucky apply for a medical wavier(redshirt) for 2011-12 where he sat out after an ACL tear [Correction: The 5-4 rule means UK does not have to apply for a medical wavier, since hood didn't have a prior redshirt year]. UK could theoretically choose not to do that. I don’t think that will happen if Hood wants to return.
None of these scenarios include the possibility of transfer, which could happen, particularly at the four spot.
These scenarios assume that Randle and Gordon would not come to play the wing forward spot, and that none of UK’s current 4’s would move to the wing. That is a dubious assumption at best, which you can have fun with in the comments, but I have to keep this to a reasonable length.
Scenario A: Nerlens Noel Is The Only Early Entry
This scenario assumes everyone but Noel stays. That leaves 13 players for 13 scholarships. In this scenario, Kentucky could still take Andrew Wiggins by moving Jarrod Polson back to a walk-on.
Scenario B: Two UK Players Leave Early
This is the high probability in my mind. This would leave scholarships available, if you include Polson’s, for up to two more players. That could leave Calipari with the option of moving Polson to walk-on in favor of Hawkins if only one of the three outstanding recruits comes, or offering him a ride if none of them do.
I don’t think Calipari would move Polson to walk-on to give Hawkins a scholarship, but Polson might volunteer to do so.
Scenario C: Three UK Players Leave Early
This scenario is also pretty likely, but that would free up the four spot quite a bit. If that happens, two scholarships would be available. If that drew two of the three outstanding recruits, we’d be right back to the Scenario B situation with regard to Hawkins.
But if only one of the three outstanding recruits come to UK, a spot would open up for Hawkins if he’s still available and Coach Cal wants him bad enough to use a scholarship.
Scenario D: Four UK Players Leave Early
Obviously, there would be scholarships available for Hawkins in this scenario if Calipari wants him and he has remained uncommitted. All three of the outstanding recruits could commit in this scenario, and a ride would still be available for Hawkins, if Calipari wants him.
I hope this clears things up for those wondering about Dominique Hawkins. In a perfect world, I’m pretty sure Calipari would give him a scholarship. He’d be nice depth at guard, and he is a very talented player who will get better and will stick around a while. Calipari is learning the value of that older, less talented player very well this year.
I didn’t include the scenario where Noel stays, but that could theoretically happen. I consider it such a low probability that it isn’t really worth discussing, but I think you can figure it out for yourselves, anyway.
Also, keep in mind wild cards 1 and 2. These could make a scholarship for Hawkins much more likely. I consider both these low-probability, but you never know.