State title boosts recruiting of Madison Central seniors

broberts@herald-leader.comMarch 13, 2013 

Madison Central starters, from left, Dominique Hawkins, Quan Taylor and Ken-Jah Bosley celebrated their Boys' Sweet Sixteen title Sunday. Each is considering his college prospects.


Coach Allen Feldhaus Jr. and his Sweet Sixteen champion Madison Central basketball team were making the rounds in the state Capitol when he got the text message Tuesday.

It was University of Kentucky assistant coach Orlando Antigua, who was texting Feldhaus to say that he and his star player, Dominique Hawkins, were wanted at UK's practice later in the day.

The request left Feldhaus with a conundrum.

"I said, 'Well, we're in Frankfort, and we've got the whole team. You want me to send them somewhere else?'"

Antigua texted right back to say that wouldn't be necessary, so the whole bunch boarded up and headed for Lexington.

It wasn't Hawkins' first trip to the Joe Craft Center. The Sweet Sixteen MVP also was invited to UK's practice after the state tournament opener last week, and the lifelong Kentucky fan later described being overwhelmed by the experience.

"It was like going to a concert and meeting someone famous and just passing out. That's how it felt," Hawkins told the Herald-Leader. "It's amazing. I can't even believe I went there. It's like a dream."

On Tuesday, Hawkins and Feldhaus met with John Calipari and Antigua for 20-30 minutes.

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.

UK's message to Hawkins: "Be patient."

The Madison Central star has made it clear that he's willing to wait.

"About all I can say is they're interested, and we're going to be patient," Feldhaus said. "We're not going to do anything until we know for sure what they're going to do. Put it that way."

In the meantime, new names continue to pop up in the recruitment.

Hawkins' latest Division I scholarship offer came from Florida International Coach Richard Pitino, and South Carolina and Murray State have also offered in recent days.

Morehead State and Western Kentucky — Hawkins' two favorites going into the state tournament — remain in the mix.

The 6-foot-1 guard will travel to Bowling Green on Thursday for another meeting with the WKU coaches before heading to Diddle Arena to see the Madison Central girls play their Sweet Sixteen opener.

Morehead State Coach Sean Woods was in Rupp Arena to see Hawkins play Saturday and Sunday.

"They've been the most committed of anybody for the longest period of time," Feldhaus said. "He couldn't go wrong with either one of those. But they said they understand what he's waiting for. And they'd understand if that did happen.

"They said, 'We're not going to move on until we know for sure what you're going to do.'"

Louisville offered a preferred walk-on spot last month, but Hawkins has said he's not interested in being a walk-on.

The same would go for UK, apparently.

"He will not be a walk-on anywhere. I'll tell you that right now," Feldhaus said. "He's not going to be anybody's walk-on."

Hawkins isn't the only Madison Central senior attracting attention.

Feldhaus is also getting calls about the other two parts of the Indians' "Big Three" — Ken-Jah Bosley and Quan Taylor.

Before the Sweet Sixteen, in-state schools Georgetown and Cumberlands were at the top of the list for Bosley, whose clutch three-pointer gave Madison Central the state title.

Since last week, Akron, Wright State, and Northern Kentucky have all expressed interest.

"I definitely think he can play Division I. That's why I didn't want him to do anything early," Feldhaus said. "Nothing against those NAIA schools, because those are two of the best. But I know his goal would be to play Division I basketball."

Taylor, who might have been Madison Central's best player in the state title game, could go a different route.

Feldhaus isn't sure if Taylor will qualify with the NCAA, but the coach said he gets three or four calls a day from junior college coaches who would love to have him.

"I want him to go somewhere with people I can trust," he said. "He's going to get an opportunity."

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

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