Thursday, January 26, 2017

Uno En Uno With: Jalen Hawkins

In three seasons, Jalen Hawkins rapidly shaped into one of New York State’s most promising young scorers. Effective at scoring the rock from all three levels, the 6-foot-3 guard flourished at knifing to the rim and scoring with either hand.

 As a sophomore, he averaged 32.3 points and shattered a majority of the school’s scoring records. Since arriving at Utica-Proctor, Hawkins set out to be a focal point capable of shouldering a majority of the offensive weight.

Playing for the Albany City Rocks on the AAU circuit gave Hawkins greater exposure.
In gauging his scoring aptitude against top-percentile competition, Hawkins learned he had to adjust his game for taller, stronger defenders geared to stymie the scoring onslaughts he authored in upstate New York.

As he became more realistic about his basketball future, more and more people got into his ear about playing against better competition. Hawkins too acknowledged a need to shed the tag of “bully,” and prove his buckets binges against meager competition didn’t put blemishes on his advanced skill-set.

After a summer in which he enhanced his image as a slasher and following a semester at the now-defunct City Reach United Basketball Academy, Hawkins has transferred to The Conrad Academy in Orlando.
After spending his first two seasons chowing down on the perceived cupcakes of upstate New York, the Class of 2018 guard will ply his trade in one of the nation’s top high school conferences. Hawkins has already transitioned by scoring less and study defensive presence.

Hawkins on Transferring

There were a lot of coaches and teachers telling me I should leave and get better opportunities. My coach even sat down with me and talked to me about leaving and pursuing better opportunities on my journey. Proctor really doesn’t produce a lot of Division-I players. So as much as I liked it there I had to go on with my career and look to play against better competition. I came to Conrad and the SIAA because I heard it’s a place that will produce a lot of guards, big men, and dudes that can flat out play.

On His Relationship With Proctor Legend Josh Wright

We had a good relationship on and off the court. He used to tell me stay humble and don’t let my head get too big. He told me about staying out of trouble and avoiding hanging around the wrong people, he told me to stay around positive vibes.
I worked out with him a couple times and he was on me hard. He was at a majority of my high school games. We had a strong bond, for sure.

On His Role                                 

Right now I’m playing my role by stepping up my defense. I’m getting used to the players and getting used to how everyone plays. If they need a rebound, I’ll go get a rebound. If they need buckets, I’ll go get a bucket.

On Transitioning

I think people don’t really know about me defensively. I play very strong defense and that’s something I’m going to bring to the table here along with my ability to drive the ball.