Dominique Hawkins indelibly endeared himself into the hearts of Kentucky fans a long time ago. He cemented his Sweet Sixteen legacy by leading Madison Central to a state championship and caught John Calipari’s eye at the same time.
His four years at Kentucky seemed to fly by. With each passing year, Hawkins’ heart and sacrifice continued to grow and he recently showed us his heart one final by thanking the Big Blue Nation from the very bottom of his.
— SEC Country Kentucky (@SECCountryUK) April 18, 2017
As he moves on to play professionally I couldn’t help but wonder about who his career path might resemble.
The same player kept coming to my mind. He also played in the SEC, and finished his college career nearly a decade ago. On Feb. 3, 2007 he led his Arkansas Razorbacks in scoring with 25 points in an 82-74 loss to Kentucky down in Fayetteville.
The player I’m referring to is Patrick Beverley. After leaving Arkansas in 2008 Beverley played overseas in the Ukraine, Russia and Greece. Since joining the Houston Rockets in 2013 he’s forged his reputation on being the tough, gritty, hard nosed energy guy that the team needs.
He prides himself on defense, and in a league dominated by elite point guards that means he’s tasked with locking up the game’s best on a nightly basis. He goes right at them too, and isn’t the least bit intimidated by the challenge. The Rockets currently hold a 3-1 lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder so he’s seen more than his fair share of Russell Westbrook this postseason.
This isn’t the first time they’ve locked horns in the playoffs.
I didn’t put these clips in here to suggest that Patrick Beverley is only out to injure and fight opponents. He has fought and scrapped to get to the league and he’s going to continue to do so to stay there. Does he thrive on being disruptive and irritating in an attempt to get his opponents off of their games?
He’s not the first and he won’t be the last to do that. I put these clips in here to show that it doesn’t matter how elite the guys he’s going up against are, (you can’t get any more elite than Westbrook and Curry) Patrick Beverley is going to go right at them.
There are several similarities between Beverley and Hawkins. For starters, they are similarly built. Beverley is 6’1″ and weighs 185 pounds, Hawkins is 6’0″ and 190 pounds. Both are sneaky athletic and won’t give an inch to anyone.
Do you remember when Hawkins got thrown into the fire against Louisville and Russ Smith in the 2014 Sweet Sixteen? How about the following game against Michigan in the Elite Eight? Do you remember Dominique spending a lot of time on Nik Stauskas, who happens to be six inches taller. He was disruptive and he went right at both of them.
Although both players are known more for their defense, they have both worked hard to become better offensively. Beverley averaged 5.6 points per game in his first NBA season, he’s been good for right around 10 points per game ever since. Hawkins shot 12.5% from three-point range as a freshman, as a senior he was hitting 34.3% from deep. Think back to the confident manner in which Dominique finished his senior season. He stayed in attack mode. If he had a good look at a three-pointer, he was locked and loaded and let it fly without hesitation. When the defense chased him off of the three he was able to consistently get into the paint and knock down the floater (Beverley is pretty proficient with his floater too).
I was able to give Hawkins props about his improved offensive game personally recently at an autograph session at Bluegrass RV in Lexington. He smiled his classic smile and humbly acknowledged the compliments as only he can.
Beverley and Hawkins are also really good at taking care of the basketball. As a rookie Beverley averaged 17.4 minutes and 1.1 turnovers per game. The last four seasons he’s averaged 30.4 minutes per game and only 1.5 turnovers a night. In 1,426 total minutes, Hawkins only turned the ball over 35 times. That’s one turnover every 40.7 minutes!
We may not see Hawkins nearly coming to blows with opponents as a pro or coming across as brash as Beverley does, but we all know he has just as much tenacity and he’s not about to back down. He closed his letter to UK fans by saying that he is going to “play until I can’t”.
The team that gets him is definitely be getting a guy that will give it all that he has.