Dominique Hawkins has left no room for doubt. He's a Kentucky fan. Always has been.
Over the last five days, he's lived out his dream of playing for a state title in Rupp Arena.
On Sunday, the dream came true. He walked off the floor a state champion, clutching the Sweet Sixteen MVP award under his arm.
"It feels great to do this on this court," Hawkins said while Queen's We Are the Champions blared over the Rupp sound system.
Hawkins scored 21 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and watched as teammate Ken-Jah Bosley hit a three-pointer with five seconds remaining to lift Madison Central to an improbable 65-64 victory over Ballard.
John Calipari wasn't there to see this thriller, but UK assistant Orlando Antigua sat directly behind the Madison Central bench and stuck around for several minutes after the final horn to watch Hawkins celebrate with his teammates and accept his MVP trophy.
Antigua was in attendance for all four of Hawkins' games in Rupp Arena. Calipari was there for three.
Madison Central Coach Allen Feldhaus Jr. said there haven't been any new developments with UK's recruitment of Hawkins. At least, no new developments that he wanted to talk about Sunday.
"I think we're just going to be a little bit patient there," he said with a smile. "We're going to be patient. And I think good things will happen."
Hawkins averaged 26.8 points and 8.8 rebounds over the course of the Sweet Sixteen. Feldhaus said last month that he hoped his 6-foot-1 senior guard would have the chance to play on this stage and show off his game to more college coaches.
Hawkins made the most of his opportunity.
"I don't know what else he could have done. He's special," Feldhaus said. "He's Mr. Basketball — I don't think there's any question about it. Not because of what he gets done here. He's just a great kid. There's just something different about him that makes him special."
Feldhaus said the same schools have been in contact with him throughout the week. Alabama, Tennessee, Purdue and South Carolina are all in on his recruitment, and Morehead State and Western Kentucky are still hoping they can land Hawkins.
Morehead State Coach Sean Woods was there for the second straight day Sunday. But Antigua was on the opposite end of the court, representing the school that Hawkins has always wanted to play for.
A few weeks from now, he could be one step closer to that dream.
"It'll be interesting to see what happens in the next week or two," Feldhaus said. "Myself, I'm always partial to Big Blue. I'd give anything to be able to come over here and watch him go up and down this floor some more."
Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216. Twitter: @NextCats. Blog: ukrecruiting.bloginky.com