By LARRY VAUGHT
Dominique Hawkins has been playing some of his best basketball at Kentucky in recent games going into the start of postseason play Friday in Nashville.
Kentucky coach John Calipari even suggested after last week’s win at Texas A&M that Hawkins might deserve to start.
That would be fine with Hawkins, but winning suits him even more. His girlfriend, Emma Smith, knows what playing at Kentucky has meant to him.
“The hardest thing for him while playing for Kentucky is not disappointing family, friends and the fans. I think all the players would admit this. All eyes are on you when you’re on that court and you always want to put your best foot forward and make everyone proud,” Smith said. “However, Dominique has gone above and beyond when it comes to making all of his loved ones proud.”
That has produced a lot of special memories for her and she prides herself on being his No. 1 fan.
“Every game is a great memory. The Louisville game (his junior year) stands out above them all. He had an amazing game, and I am so thankful I was there with my Dad to cheer him on. I’m especially grateful that I went to every game,” she said.
“I didn’t realize how much I’m going to miss this environment until just recently. Being in Rupp Arena feels like we’re one big family. I have made so many lasting relationships and have met so many amazing people along the way. And I know Dominique feels the same way.
“So I think my favorite memory is all of it — every Big Blue Madness, every scrimmage, every home game, every away game, screaming until my throat was sore with his family and my own, waiting on Dominique in the back because he is always the last one out of the locker room, and the walks back to my car going over the game and how he played. Experiencing this whole journey with Dominique has been the time of my life.”