Dominique Hawkins may not be flying under the recruiting radar for too much longer.
Madison Central's dynamic senior guard got a visit from Kentucky assistant coach Orlando Antigua on Sunday.
"Coach Antigua came down to watch me practice," Hawkins said. "I guess he wanted to see what I could do. I didn't get to talk to him or anything, but all of my coaches did. He said that they're going to be taking a look at me now, and that he'll be at my game Friday if we win Tuesday (against Franklin County) in the regional tournament."
The Indians will play Franklin County at 8:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday at Eastern Kentucky University's McBrayer Arena. If they win, they'll face the winner of Dunbar or Henry Clay on Friday at 8:15.
Hawkins (6-1, 180) is a big reason why Madison Central is favored to win the 11th Region this year. He's averaging 20.1 points per game, but has delivered some of his best performances against the toughest competition. Earlier this season, he scored a game-high 29 points in a loss to Travis High of Texas, led by five-star UK signees Aaron and Andrew Harrison, at the Marshall County Hoopfest.
In December, Hawkins posted 29 points against Bullitt East and UK signee Derek Willis. Earlier this month, he had the magic number 29 again in a showdown with No. 1 Louisville Trinity and elite football prospect James Quick despite struggling through foul trouble.
Still, major recruiting attention has been slow to develop. Until lately.
"Things are getting pretty exciting," said Hawkins, an exceptional all-around athlete who also starred as a running back for Madison Central's football team. "Morehead State has been on me hard since my junior year, and Western Kentucky has also been recruiting me for a while. But now I'm starting to hear from some bigger schools, too, like UK and Louisville, Tennessee, Alabama and Purdue."
Hawkins admits he has often wondered "What took you so long?"
"I do," he said with a laugh. "But sometimes that's just how it goes. I needed to work on my game, and I feel like I've done that over the last year. It's an honor to have some of the big schools looking at me now. I feel like all the hard work is starting to pay off."
Hawkins said he put in a lot of work on his ball-handling and jump shot during the off-season with an eye on his future. "I know I'll probably have to be a point guard or a combo guard at the next level, so those things were important. I think I've added a really good mid-range jumper this year. With my ability to get into the lane, I've been scoring a lot of points off that."
Asked what his reaction to the Wildcats' interest was, Hawkins said: "Kentucky's always been a dream school for me. I grew up watching them, and my family is full of UK fans. (Former Wildcat) Marquis Estill is my cousin, so I'm pretty sure he's been putting in some good words for me over there."
Estill, who also starred for Madison Central and played for UK under Tubby Smith from 2000-03, is currently serving as an undergraduate assistant for John Calipari.
Kentucky has yet to indicate to Hawkins what his recruiting status is, but he says he's hopeful something will develop soon. He holds offers from Morehead State and WKU. Louisville has made an offer for him to be a "preferred walk-on" and earn a scholarship his last three years with the Cardinals.
Many have compared his size and style of play to former Clark County standout Preston Knowles, who took the preferred walk-on route to Louisville in 2007 and developed into a solid contributor for Rick Pitino's program.
"That's something I may have to think about," Hawkins said. "I'd really like a scholarship from the start, but these are some pretty good programs. It might be a great opportunity to take something like that.
"I'm just trying to be patient and see how things work out. Right now, all of my focus is on helping my team win a state championship."
Cats scout Madison Central's Hawkins
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