Madison Central's Hawkins flying high, but under UK's radar — for now

broberts@herald-leader.comFebruary 21, 2013 

One of the best high school basketball prospects in the state plays just 26 miles from Rupp Arena, but Kentucky has yet to pay him a visit.

Until recently, the recruitment of Madison Central senior Dominique Hawkins was shaping up as a two-school showdown between Morehead State and Western Kentucky.

In the past few weeks, Tennessee, Alabama and Louisville have inquired, but no immediate scholarship offers have been extended.

And longtime Madison Central Coach Allen Feldhaus Jr. hasn't heard a peep from the folks in Lexington.

"We think people are missing out," Feldhaus said. "He's one heck of a player.

"It's frustrating as a coach. I've had him for a long time, and I think I'm a pretty good judge on what level they can play, and I think he could play at an upper-level Division I school."

Hawkins, a 6-foot-1 point guard, wouldn't be a threat to push incoming phenom Andrew Harrison for the starting spot on next year's roster, but he could contribute to a UK team that might be facing another mass exodus.

Kentucky has been scouting under-the-radar seniors to bolster its class in case several current players opt to leave early in a weak year for the NBA Draft.

On Friday, a UK assistant is expected to see Cordia point guard Emmanuel Owootoah — a Canadian transfer — for the second time in as many weeks.

Feldhaus said the Kentucky staff requested and received game tape of Hawkins two or three weeks ago, but no one has followed up.

"We haven't seen them or heard from them," he said.

U of L Coach Rick Pitino called a couple of weeks ago and offered a walk-on spot for next season with the intention of putting Hawkins on scholarship starting with his sophomore year.

But Feldhaus noted that Louisville has already signed three guards in its four-man class for 2013.

Feldhaus said one reason for the lack of high-major interest could be the fact that Hawkins didn't play point guard — the position where he's most comfortable — during his AAU season, when college coaches have more time to travel and evaluate. analyst Evan Daniels sees Hawkins as a combination guard at the college level.

"He's a great athlete," Daniels said. "And maybe the best part of his game is his ability to make shots from mid-range. He's a tough, hard-nosed kid. And he defends the ball pretty well, too.

"There are certainly a lot of strengths to his game."

Hawkins — rated by 24/7 Sports as the No. 2 senior in the state behind UK signee Derek Willis — is averaging 20.1 points per game.

His numbers in high-profile games have been more impressive.

Hawkins scored a game-high 29 points in an early-season loss to Travis High, the Texas team led by Andrew and Aaron Harrison.

He averaged 30.8 points in four games against Trinity, Ballard and Bullitt East, which are considered to be the top three teams in the state.

Madison Central (24-5) is ranked No. 4 and will be the favorite to win next week's 11th Region Tournament, which comes with a berth to the Sweet Sixteen in Rupp Arena.

That's the stage that launched Anthony Hickey (LSU) and Preston Knowles (Louisville), a couple of recent players who were entertaining mid-major offers before big games in Rupp.

"I think Hawkins has certainly seen his stock pick up recently. And people are always looking for something late," Daniels said. "If he gets to the state tournament and has a good week, the buzz could continue."

In the end, Feldhaus said Hawkins would be more than happy choosing between Morehead and WKU.

But if UK and/or Louisville showed more interest, it would be tough to say no.

"He likes both," Feldhaus said. "That would be his ultimate goal."

Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216 Twitter: @NextCats Blog:

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