Kentucky Basketball: Dominique Hawkins Talks About 'Crazy Talent'

Dominique Hawkins and the Kentucky All-Stars fell to the Indiana All-Stars friday night by a series-record of 54 points at Freedom Hall. Hawkins is also feeling pretty sore from his first week of workouts at UK. Hawkins smiled after being asked about what it was like to finally take his place amid a recruiting class being hailed as the best ever, on a team that is already the favorite to win the national championship.

“It’s crazy talent,” Hawkins said, his smile slowly widening. “Talent I can’t really describe. I want to say the talent, we’re like superheroes.”

The Kentucky Wildcat players will be busy this summer, but since Hawkins was allowed to compete in this weekend’s high school All-Star Classic, it offered a rare chance to reveal something about the new world of these new Wildcats. After Freedom Hall had mostly emptied and the lights had been dimmed.

Adam Himmelsbach caught up with Hawkins once more.

 He stood in the locker room, and his smile quickly returned as he recited details of the Wildcats’ secretive and highly anticipated offseason. He described mesmerizing one-on-one battles between sophomore forward Alex Poythress and incoming freshman Julius Randle.

“I don’t see how they can be stopped,” Hawkins said. “Definitely, in pickup games they go at each other. It’s intense. The way they’re going at each other, it’s going to make them better. I compared them to Kobe and LeBron. You could just see it. And they don’t talk stuff; they just go after it.”

He described incoming freshman center Dakari Johnson going toe-to-toe with sophomore 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, surrendering neither an inch nor an easy layup.

“Dakari and Willie, they’ve had good battles,” Hawkins said. “They bang inside together. Dakari is not slow, like some people say. His quickness will shock you for how big he is.”

Freshman guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison and forward James Young had not arrived on campus yet along with Kyle Wiltjer, who is in China with Canada’s World University Games team. It’s important to know that things are getting off to a good start with the team. The post-season is an important time to get things done in the classroom, work out, improve on basketball skills, and to gel with teammates.
Dominique Hawkins stated that there is a point-based reward system called the “Wildcat Code.” He said players accumulate one to four points per day for things such as sitting at the front of the class, showing teachers their notes afterward and displaying extra hustle in basketball workouts. If players do not accumulate 80 points by a certain date, Hawkins said, they will not be allowed to use the team locker room. If they reach the 80-point mark, they could get their own room in the team dormitory. When they reach 100, they receive a jersey. It’s good to see that the kids are competing and having fun. The “Wildcat Code” was brought up by  John Calipari to try to get the players involved in the classroom, and also to work hard in the weight room. The code simply gets the players involved with what they are suppose to be doing.
“I’m doing all right; I think I’ve got 18 or 19 points right now,” Hawkins said. “The highest is 23. Willie has that. He’s overachieving.”
Dominique Hawkins and the other Kentucky Wildcat players are working hard this summer, and are trying to get to where they want to be. He and other players have gathered at Buffalo Wild Wings or in their dorm rooms to watch the NBA Finals. As he has watched the Heat and the Spurs battle, he has looked to his left and right and realized the players he is now surrounded by are not especially far from that stage.
“I’ve never played with a group as tough and athletic as this,” Hawkins said. “I can’t wait to put on that jersey.”
Walk-on Dominique Hawkins is showing the compassion that he already has for this year’s Kentucky Wildcats team. He won’t get a lot of playing time this year, but working hard and competing will get him very far on this team at some point in time. So far it’s all smiles for Dominique Hawkins, and things are looking good to come.

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