Thursday, May 4, 2005

Holly High’s Dawkins signs with Mississippi Valley State

By BARRY BURLESON
Editor

Holly Springs High School’s all-state guard, Kenny Dawkins, is taking his basketball skills to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I level.

Dawkins signed Friday morning with the Mississippi Valley State University Delta Devils. MVSU is located in Itta Bena and competes in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

“It’s every mother’s dream for her child to be successful,” said Wanda Dawkins Richmond. “I’m very proud of him.”

The 5’9” Dawkins helped lead the Hawks to back-to-back Class 3A state championships. They were 34-1 this past season. He averaged 18 points, eight assists and five steals per game.

“He’s been the glue for us the last four years,” said Naylond Hayes, Holly High head coach. “He was such a great leader, even when he was a freshman. He’s a great basketball player and a great person. His mother did a great job.”

Prior to the start of the 2004-05 season, Dawkins was named to The Clarion-Ledger’s Dandy Dozen, the top 12 basketball players in the state. At season’s end, he was selected First Team All-State, the best five in Mississippi. He was called “Mr. Consistency” by The Clarion-Ledger.

“Kenny (Dawkins) is definitely going to be missed,” said retiring high school principal Dorsey Patterson. “He made my last few years so enjoyable by watching him play. We won two state championships largely due to his expertise on the court. He’s a fine young man.

“The good thing about Kenny is that he’s a star on the basketball court but you wouldn’t know it by watching him on campus with his disposition. If every student on this campus was like him, they wouldn’t need a principal to keep order.

“He will make a difference with the Mississippi Valley team.”

Dawkins said his goal is to start as a freshman for the Delta Devils.

“I like the campus there, and I’m looking forward to going to college and continuing to play basketball,” he said.

His mother said her son has loved basketball since elementary school.

“In the fourth grade he wanted to play basketball and cried because he couldn’t try out,” Richmond said.

Dawkins changed schools, to Holy Family, and his mother said coach Henry Hood taught him to be a good and unselfish basketball player.

“Coach Hood allowed him to practice with the older guys until he was old enough to play,” she said. “More than anything, I’m proud of Kenny for being unselfish; it’s not about making himself shine but about making the team shine.”

Richmond said Coach Hood was a wonderful role model.

“He treated Kenny as his own son,” she said. “I didn’t want Kenny to leave Coach Hood.”

Then she went to Holly Springs High School and met Coach Hayes.

“Where Coach Hood left off, Coach Hayes picked up the slack,” Richmond said. “Coach Hayes is a good coach, and he kept Kenny busy practicing, and Coach Hayes made sure Kenny did his work.”

Now she said she believes her son is going to play for another excellent coach, Lafayette Stribling at MVSU.

“I feel very comfortable with Coach Stribling,” Richmond said. “I think he will be the person to pick up where these gentlemen left off. And I think Mississippi Valley State will add on academically and socially to what Kenny’s gotten at Holy Family and Holly Springs High School.”

She also praised her son’s summer Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) coach, Gary Caveness.

“He kept Kenny busy during the summer,” Richmond said. “It makes a parent feel good when a coach is concerned about your child and not just basketball.”

Dawkins played in the 15th annual Alabama/Mississippi all-star basketball game at Pelham, Ala. He was also the All-Area First Team, selected by the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

He scored 23 points, including five three-pointers, in Holly Springs’ 47-35 state championship win over Franklin County in March.

“Kenny (Dawkins) has made all sort of contributions at Holly Springs High School,” Coach Hayes said. “He has meant the world to us.”


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