June 25, 2019

Paul L. Dawkins Sports Memorial Scholarship

Paul Dawkins was the first Saginaw native to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA), blazing a trail for all future Saginaw NBA players. He began as a basketball standout at Central Junior High. As a prep at Saginaw High School, he was selected as the team’s Most Valuable Player while receiving All-Saginaw Valley Conference honors.

Paul attended Northern Illinois University, from 1975–79. Dubbed “Doctor D,” he graduated from Northern Illinois University with seven major school basketball records including most single-season points (695), most career points (1,749), most career field goals (751), and best single-season scoring average (26.7 points-per-game in 1978-79). As a senior, “The Doctor” captured the Mid-American Conference (MAC) scoring title, won MAC Player of the Year, and finished No. 5 nationally in scoring. In addition, he made First-Team All-MAC twice, First-Team U.S. Basketball Writers Association All-District Four, and Special Mention Sporting News All-America. He also appeared on the national ballot for the Pizza Hut All-Star Classic. His 47-point performance at Western Michigan was the best individual single-game point total in Northern Illinois’ Division I tenure since 1958.

“Without a doubt, he is the smoothest operator I’ve ever been associated with,” commented head coach John McDougal when Dawkins made the school’s All-Century Team in 2000-01. “Offensively, there were few who could touch him. He had a tremendous jump shot, great range, an uncanny outside touch.”

Paul was drafted in the 10th round of the 1979 NBA draft by the Utah Jazz. Despite being drafted low, Paul demonstrated the tenacity to still make the team. During his rookie season, he scored 30 points in one half against the Portland Trail Blazers, making 13 of 15 shots from the field. This feat broke the Jazz scoring record for a half, which was only later broken by NBA hall-of-famer Karl Malone.

He played one season in the Continental Basketball Association for the Anchorage Northern Knights (1980-81) before playing in the Turkey Super League with Galatasaray (1982–90). On his way to becoming a Turkish citizen and basketball legend, he led Galatasaray to three Turkish League championships (1985, 1986 and 1990). During the 1982–83 season, he averaged 37 points per game and had an eight-year career average of over 31 points per game in the Turkish League.

Paul was inducted into the Northern Illinois University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1991 and made the All-Time Chick Evans Field House Team in 1997. In 1998, Paul led all scorers with 22 points in the Mid-American Legends All-Star Game in Toledo, Ohio. On November 2, 2007, Saginaw honored its native by inducting him into the Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame.

Paul continued to display his winning spirit and leadership skills after his basketball career by working as a corporate executive in the financial industry and mentoring his daughter, Paulyae, on her way to becoming an All-American volleyball player. He will be remembered as an exceptional husband, father, son and brother, and as a hero, mentor, record holder and champion. His loving family and friends offer this scholarship to honor the love, encouragement, inspiration and support Paul gave to so many others.


Additional links

Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame – Paul Dawkins

Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame Induction Video – Paul Dawkins

Northern Illinois University – Paul Dawkins


  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Graduating high school senior from Saginaw United High School or Saginaw Arts & Sciences Academy
  • Pursuing undergraduate degree or Career and Technical Education (CTE) studies
  • Full-time enrollment
  • Financial need

Evaluation Criteria

  • Special skills/interests (varsity letter in basketball or track in senior year; special accomplishments in sports) (40)
  • Academic performance (30)
  • Financial need (15)
  • Awards and honors (10)
  • Citizenship/character (5)