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In their own words: Hawkins blown away by fan support, eager to enjoy Madness

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Kentucky freshman guard Dominique Hawkins. (Chet White, UK Athletics) Kentucky freshman guard Dominique Hawkins. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
Throughout the 2013-14 season, and will be here to serve as your primary source for Kentucky basketball coverage. From feature stories to game coverage, video and more, we pride ourselves on being your one-stop shop for all things UK basketball. However, nobody can paint the picture quite like the people who create the artwork. Throughout the 2013-14 year, the players who make the stories will share in writing a season-long blog to share with the Big Blue Nation their experiences, their thoughts and how the year develops in their own eyes. Today we hear from Dominique Hawkins.

By Dominique Hawkins

Hey, how are you, Big Blue Nation? How's it going?

I have to talk first about what I saw at Tent City last week. I didn't expect that many people to camp out for free tickets. I got to meet the biggest fans in the nation. We love them to death just because they do that for us. It's crazy because when you talk to them, they want to talk about nothing but basketball. Since I was a little kid, I knew about it, but I didn't know how insane it was even though I grew up in Kentucky.

My favorite fan was the little girl I posted a picture of on Instagram. I met her and she just kept on hugging me and grabbing my neck and didn't want to let go. I thought that was pretty sweet of her.

Looking at the little kids, we know we're their role models. It's kind of neat to know that all the little kids look up to us and want to know about how we're doing, what we're doing in life so they can be just like us. It was just pretty neat to experience this at the campout and also when I went to visit Morton Middle School with Alex, Julius, Tod, EJ and Coach Robic.

We went to the school and we talked about how important academics are. There was probably like 400 kids in there. They were going crazy once we came out. We basically just told them to stay in school and keep doing what you're doing because without academics, you can't go as far as you want to.

Before we visited the school, we made snack bags for God's Pantry to take to the kids, and that was pretty fun. We were racing each other on the side. We're always making things into a game and competing with each other, whether we're in the gym or playing video games in our rooms.

We play a soccer video game a lot, but I haven't won yet. I would say James Young is probably the best at that game. I can't beat him, but that's the only person I play because I always want to play the best. I'm going to keep on playing him until I beat him. I'm pretty bad, but we also play a basketball game and nobody can beat me in that. I want Julius to play me but he's scared to play me, so we'll have to see what's up with him.

We don't just play video games though. We went to the huge water balloon fight on campus together and it was insane. I thought it would be easy to find the balloons since there were so many, but everybody was there and I could hardly even pick one up. When I went to throw a balloon, I would squeeze it too hard and it would blow up right in my face, so I didn't really get to hit anybody. Luckily I wasn't the tallest one out there because Marcus and Dakari, they got hit a lot. Plus they were surfing the crowd so people started throwing balloons at them.

I've also had fun going to football games. I had actually been to a couple when I was a kid, but I never noticed how many fans actually go to the football games. It's been packed at every game I've been to this year. It's crazy how they support the football team as much as the basketball team. Just to be able to watch the football team, that probably gives them a lot of confidence because of how many fans that come to support them. I played running back and slot receiver in high school and used to face Ryan Timmons, so it's cool to watch him play. They always beat us in football but we always beat them in basketball. It made it even.

Classes have been a big change coming from high school, but I'm getting used to it and adapting. It's getting a little bit easier, but once practice started up, it made it tougher because we are so busy. We have to find a way to get our homework done between practices, lifting weights and everything else. I stay up late at night trying to get it done a lot of times.

I've had to get used to practicing too, but we're having fun with it. I thought practice was going to be miserable because the first day was so long and we had to learn all this new stuff. It felt like we went four hours, but we only went two and a half. But now since we're about eight practices in, it's been easier.

One of the hardest things has been learning how to play fast and think slow like Coach Cal says. We're so confused about that because it's hard to do. When you're going so fast, you're out of control most of the time. For me, I have never played this way before, so playing fast and thinking slow is pretty difficult. I'm getting used to it though. I can also tell we're getting in better shape as a team. With the way Coach Cal does things, when we practice, we know that we're conditioning, too.

Right now, I'm definitely looking forward to Big Blue Madness because I've watched it before. I've always wanted to be that person to go on that stage and have all the Kentucky fans yelling for me. That's going to be a special moment for me. I'm blessed to be on this team and to be able to do something like that. It's going to be fun to be able to do something like that with my teammates that I'm becoming brothers with.

I have something special planned but I'm not going to let it out yet.

Follow Dominique on Twitter @Dhawk_25

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