UK Men's Basketball

Kentucky’s Hawkins views Far East trip as springboard for senior season

Kentucky Wildcats guard Dominique Hawkins (25) laughed as he took a jumper as the University of Kentucky practiced for their NCAA opening round game in Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, IA, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. UK plays Stony Brook Thursday night in a first round NCAA tournament game.
Kentucky Wildcats guard Dominique Hawkins (25) laughed as he took a jumper as the University of Kentucky practiced for their NCAA opening round game in Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, IA, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. UK plays Stony Brook Thursday night in a first round NCAA tournament game. cbertram@herald-leader.com

While John Calipari was in Destin, Fla., proposing long-range plans at the Southeastern Conference meetings, one of his players was returning home from a long-distance journey.

Senior Dominique Hawkins came back from the Far East this week after serving his second stint in Reach USA’s cultural exchange program.

Not everyone is blessed with the little things that we have.

Dominique Hawkins, Kentucky senior guard

The two-week trip offered Hawkins and the eight other students that accompanied him a chance to learn about the Far Eastern culture and share some of the United States’ culture in return.

“Not everyone is blessed with the little things that we have,” Hawkins said. “Some examples of that are clean water, clothes, food and shelter which were the biggest lessons I learned away from the court on this trip.”

While on the court, the UK guard enjoyed some success during the nine-game slate against teams from Lithuania and China. Hawkins averaged 8.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.6 steals per game in his second go around with Reach USA.

On the court I learned that when I play with confidence, I’m a different player.

Dominique Hawkins, Kentucky senior guard

Hawkins continued some of the success he found on the court for UK this past season, putting up two double-figure scoring games highlighted by a 15-point, four three-point field goal performance and an 11-point, seven-assist game.

Hawkins will look to use the trip as preparation for the upcoming season where he returns as one of three seniors for the Cats.

“My favorite part of the trip was being able to be around my high school teammate, Kenjah Bosley, again. He was a big part of why I went for a second time. On the court I learned that when I play with confidence, I’m a different player.”

Anthony Crawford: 859-231-1627, @a_craw_

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