Hawkins leaves ASU, heads to UC Davis
by Casey Pritchard assistant sports editor
The old adage goes, if the shoe fits, wear it. Corey Hawkins’ sneakers were the wrong size at Arizona State University. The 2010 Estrella Foothills graduate, and all-time Arizona High School basketball scor- ing leader, is leaving ASU after one season and transferring to the University of Califor- nia at Davis. The Aggies play in the Big West Conference and were 10-20 overall and 4-12, finishing last in the nine-team league, last year.
“I’m really excited,” Hawkins said. “It’s a
great fit, there’s a lot of great things going on over there.” Hawkins played sparingly in his freshman year as a Sun Devil. He saw action in 24 of the team’s 31 games, with one start, but aver- aged just 8.2 minutes per contest. He aver- aged 2.0 points and 1.7 rebounds per game, a far cry from his senior year high school averages of 36.0 and 10.1. Hawkins doesn’t know exactly when he decided to call it quits at ASU, but knows why. “I kind of felt like I didn’t fit in with their plans for the future, and I think every player wants to feel needed or have a purpose of being where they’re at,” Hawkins said. “It just kind of didn’t feel that way for me.” Hawkins played more at the end of the year than he did at the beginning, but felt like that was because ASU’s season was not going very well, he said. The Sun Devils began the season 8-5 but finished 12-19, including a 4-14 Pac-10 record.
Despite the lack of playing time, Hawkins did enjoy the experience of being at ASU. “It was great, the team was wonderful, we all got along, the coaches did a lot for us, but in the end I feel like you have to do whatever is going to help you out in the long run,” Hawkins said.
In the long run Hawkins is hoping UC
Davis will be what helps him out. He’ll have to sit out a year because of the transfer rule, but he’ll have some familiarity there as the Aggies’ head coach, Jim Les, is a longtime friend of the family. Les played his college basketball at Bradley University with Hawk- ins’ father, Hersey, and had a seven-year NBA career. “I’ve known him — we did basketball camps together after we left college, we took a couple golf trips together — as well as the family, we’ve spent a lot of time with him,” Hersey said. “We’ll stay with him when we go back to Peoria, [Ill.], so I think that’s one of the reasons why Corey was so comfortable with him.”
Les spent the last nine years coaching at his alma mater where he compiled a 154-140
record. Hersey did not push Corey toward going to Davis because of Les, but rather had him make a list of priorities in what he wanted out of a school. “I tried to make him think about what he
was looking for in a program, you know, style of play, familiarity, being comfortable with a coach, all those things,” Hawkins said. “I told him to make a list, what do you want out of a program, and if you can get most of what you want out of a program that’s what you go with.
“I think he got the best of both worlds. It’s a great academic school, he’s going to play in a system where I think he can really show his talents, something he is used to playing in — the same type of system he played in high school, tweaked a little for the college level — and he’s comfortable with the coach.” It took Corey a while before deciding on
UC Davis, about two or three months, he said, but that was partially because he had to see what scholarships were available since he was looking in the summer and most schools had already awarded their scholarships by then. He did wind up with a full ride though, and is happy with his decision. “I think basketball wise — take out the education part, of course you get a great education there — it was compatibility with the players and coaches, it really helps that the coach, Jim Les, I’ve known him my whole life,” Corey said. “That’s probably the best situation I could have ever been put in because he knows my game and that will help me even more. The players are great, and it’s a system that suits my game more. There’s nothing wrong with ASU’s system, but it’s just not my style. I’m more run and gun like in high school and they do that at Davis.” Corey’s high school coach, Ty Amundsen, is also happy for Corey and his new oppor- tunity.
“Corey’s a good kid, he’s going to do well
wherever he goes,” Amundsen said. “I’ve always been proud of him and I think he’ll do very well at UC Davis … he’s always wanted to play at a California school. I think this will be a good fit for him. A lot of people initially will think this might not be a good move for him basketball-wise, but in the end Corey will be just fine.”
In the meantime, Corey is with his family in Portland, Ore., working on his game and getting ready for the next chapter of his col- lege life. He plans to major in communica- tions and broadcasting. “I can’t wait to get down there, start work- ing out, meeting people, getting used to the team,” he said.
Casey Pritchard can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
View file photo by Ray Thomas
COREY HAWKINS warms up before an Arizona State University game against the University of Alabama-Birmingham last season. Hawkins, who starred at Estrella Foothills High School, has transferred from ASU to the University of California at Davis.
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