JustinHawkins

Not another student-athlete ‘scandal’: UNLV’s Justin Hawkins graduates in three years

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Questions have been raised for some time about the relationship between academics and the student-athlete at the collegiate level. See: one-and-done, academic ineligibility, prep schools, etc., etc.

So it’s refreshing to see a story of an athlete who has excelled in the classroom, the type of story that is many times swept under the carpet, in favor of the juicier, more salacious types, the “scandals” and “NCAA investigations.”

Justin Hawkins averaged 7.8 points and 2.9 rebounds for UNLV this past season and this weekend he’ll be graduating from that university on the accelerated, three-year track.

The story is recounted by Ryan Greene of RunRebs.com, telling the story of how Hawkins loaded his academic calendar and took classes in the summer to put himself in a position to graduate early.

“I think that’s what actually helped push me,” Hawkins told RunRebs.com. “You’ve got to teach yourself, do the physical work, and no one’s there to tell you when you have to do a test, do a paper, take a quiz online. You have to be willing to go out to get your education.”

He is in hotel management, understandably a big major in the tourist-rich Las Vegas area, and Hawkins has even interned at the MGM Grand while balancing school and basketball.

He will have one year of eligibility left and will begin work in the fall on a master’s in public administration.

To read the full story, click here.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: