This year, UK is star-packed once again with the nation’s top players in college basketball. With several "big" stars, who is one person that can really stand out for the Cats?
Some would say Derek Willis could be the unsung hero for the Cats; I say it's Richmond, Kentucky’s own Dominique Hawkins. Hawkins only is averaging 3 points per game coming into his senior season, BUT that’s not what he does. Hawkins does so much more than just score the basketball. He takes control of the game.
Hawkins, now entering his senior year as a Kentucky Wildcat seems to have taken a huge leadership part, along with, Isaiah Briscoe of course. This is huge for the Cats because he brings a lot to the table that most players can’t bring. Hawkins brings leadership to the table, and being one of only three seniors on the Cats' roster, this will be very valuable as the Cats strive for nine.
Hawkins is also the only senior with a start under their belt. Hawkins had nine starts as a sophomore on the 31-0 Kentucky Wildcat season. Hawkins played double-digit minutes in 10 of his 14 games as a freshman as well.
Dominique Hawkins comes into this season known as the defensive stopper. As I mentioned before, he only averages three points-per-game, but he causes a lot of havoc playing man-on-man defense. Hawkins played a vital defensive roll in the 31-0 season for the Cats.
Dominique has already started out the season well, beginning with the pre-season NBA combine/televised practice for Kentucky. Hawkins had one of the largest standing vertical leaps at 37 inches that we have seen in a long time. Hawkins had a 44.5 max vertical as well, which would mark him down as one of the best vertical leapers the NBA combine has seen.
This will be Hawkins’ last chance to make a statement and get that ninth NCAA Championship for the University of Kentucky, so I expect him to make it count. I know there is a lot of star power on this year’s NBA talented roster, but I believe the key to success will be Dominique Hawkins, helping lead the Cats to the title.