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Hawkins was 'starstruck' by Calipari's offer

By DENNIS VARNEY The Lexington Herald-Leader

Dominique Hawkins' latest stop on his NBA workout tour took him to Philadelphia for a visit with the 76ers on Monday.

The former Madison Central and University of Kentucky standout, whose previous workouts have included the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz, talked with Sixers.com reporter Brian Seltzer during his visit about how he ended up at UK, the NBA Draft process and more.

"It's very cool for me. I'm blessed to be able to go through this process," said Hawkins, who still has visits with the Chicago Bulls and the Milwaukee Bucks to go. "Always as a little kid, you just want to be able to try out for NBA teams and see if they'll take you. â ¦

"I'm definitely trying to get out to teams that I can shoot the ball. At Kentucky I didn't get to put (up) as many shots as I wanted, as everybody does. I definitely feel like I can shoot the ball way better than people expect me to."

Hawkins talked with Seltzer about how Madison Central's run to the Sweet Sixteen title turned into a golden opportunity -- an offer from Coach John Calipari to play for the Cats.

"It's definitely a dream come true for me," Hawkins said. "I really didn't get the scholarship offer until like the last second of my high school championship game. I was just starstruck. Basically I didn't know what to do once I got the scholarship.

"I immediately said I'm going to take it the next day," he said with a laugh. "It was awesome. My four years there, it was a good journey and I was blessed to be able to have an amazing coach like Coach Cal."

Hawkins said his hard work every day earned him more minutes later in his UK career.

"Coach Cal definitely (saw) that, and that's why he played me a lot my junior and senior years, and feel like I helped the team out in a tremendous way."

Hawkins' visit to Philadelphia also included a chat with fellow former Wildcat Alex Poythress, who used an All-Star season in the NBA developmental league to earn a contract late in the season with the Sixers. Poythress averaged 10.7 points and 4.8 rebounds in 26.2 minutes in the team's final six games.

"That's a great motivation story," Hawkins said. "I feel like I could definitely put myself in those shoes. I feel like if I do get picked by a team, I'll probably, definitely have to go to the D-League and try to improve as a better player and try to make it to the league."

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