LEXINGTON, Ky. – Dominique Hawkins, Dakari Johnson and Julius Randle have officially signed to play basketball at the University of Kentucky beginning in the 2013-14 season, head coach John Calipari announced Thursday.
The trio joins fall signees Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, Marcus Lee, Derek Willis and James Young to form the consensus top-ranked class in the nation.
"The thing I like most about this group is its competitive spirit and its will to win," Calipari said. "These guys are All-Americans and award winners, but more importantly they're world champions, national champions and state champions. They know what it takes to win. The size and talent of the group will allow us to have tough, hard-nosed practices which will carry over to the games. I'm excited for the opportunity to coach this group."
Hawkins is an in-state player who hails from Richmond, Ky. The guard was named the 2013 Kentucky Mr. Basketball and is the 17th player in UK history to claim the honor. He directed Madison Central to the state championship and captured most valuable player honors after averaging 20.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.8 steals per game throughout the Kentucky Boys Sweet Sixteen. Hawkins is rated as the No. 44 point guard by 247 Sports. Rivals and Scout rank him as a three-star player.
He joins Derek Willis as the two state-of-Kentucky signees. Both will take part in the Derby Festival Classic later this week.
"I kept hearing about Dominique from Marquis Estill and my good friend Dr. Robert Palmer," Calipari said. "When I watched him play, lead his team, and play with a will to win and fight, I was totally sold. At the Sweet Sixteen, he made sure he got his teammates involved and was always happy with their success, but when it was time to take over the game – when it was winning time – everyone in the building knew they were going to play through Dominique, which they did, and they won. The last player who was named Kentucky Mr. Basketball and won a state title in the same year was Darius Miller. He went to two Final Fours, won a national title and is now playing in the NBA. My hope is Dominique will be on the same path."