Thursday, November 3, 2005

Dawkins playing basketball in Arizona
• Former Holly High star leading junior college Matadors


Kenny Dawkins is a long way from home, but he’s still doing what he does best – playing basketball.

Dawkins, a star for the Holly Springs High School Hawks on their back-to-back state championship teams, is now on the court for Arizona Western College in Yuma, Ariz.

Head coach Kelly Green said Dawkins has been “given the keys to the bus” as the starting point guard for one of the nation’s elite in junior college basketball.

“I’ve told him, you drive it and we will go where you take us,” Coach Green said.

“Kenny is doing well. He obviously has gotten some very good coaching in his past.”

Green’s Matadors finished 31-3 a year ago, were ranked number one and made it to the national junior college tournament. In the last eight years, it’s the winningest college program in Arizona.

“Kenny plays extremely hard,” Coach Green said. “Defensively, he causes people a lot of problems. He’s a pest – right up in you all the time.”

Arizona Western College played an exhibition game against San Diego Christian University last Friday and opens the regular season this week in the New Mexico Junior College Classic at Hobbs, N.M.

Green said Dawkins is a different type of point guard than he has had in the past. Those have not been scorers.

“Kenny has the ability to score also,” he said. “I’m impressed with his decision making, when to shoot and when to pass. It comes natural with him.”

Dawkins originally decided on Mississippi Valley State University, but a coaching change there led him to look elsewhere. An acquaintance of Green’s who runs a scouting service knew Arizona Western College needed a point guard and told him about Dawkins.

Green called Dawkins, and a few days later Dawkins called him back expressing interest.

Dawkins went to Yuma for a visit and “decided to do it,” Coach Green said. His mom, Wanda Dawkins Richmond, is living there, too, and working as a teacher.

Coach Green said Dawkins, a former all-state guard in Mississippi, will likely sign with a four-year college after leaving Arizona Western.

“No question,” he said.

“We’re fortunate to have him here. Kenny is an outstanding basketball player, and he’s a great person on campus, too.”

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