Hawkins taking flight for UConn men's hoops

Published on Sunday, 21 November 2021 19:34

Journal Inquirer

STORRS - Everyone is good at something. Some people are really, really good at things.

UConn freshman guard Jordan Hawkins is one of the latter.

“He’s got a superpower,” UConn associate head coach Kimani Young said recently, “and that’s shooting. He can really shoot it.”

Jordan missed the Huskies’ first two games of the season with a nagging ankle injury and didn’t get to display his super powers fully in his college debut Wednesday against Long Island University.

He could get a little more of a chance to play today when No. 23 UConn hosts Binghamton at noon at the XL Center in Hartford.

UConn (3-0) has won its first three games by a combined 139 points, including Wednesday’s 93-40 demolition of LIU.

The Huskies’ depth has already helped them breeze through their first few games, but they plan to get even deeper. That’s where Hawkins comes in.

“We want to play nine guys. We feel of the young guys he’s by far the most ready to take the court with a team of eight other guys that were effectively ready to hit the ground running,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said Friday of Hawkins. “He’s a major player for us on this year’s team.”

Hawkins had five points and four rebounds and an assist in eight minutes of action against LIU.

Today is the UConn’s final tune-up before it heads to the Bahamas for next week’s Battle 4 Atlantis. The Huskies’ opening game in that event is Wednesday against Auburn.

His team has scored 281 points through three games, is connecting on more than half of its shots from the floor, and is shooting just under 38 percent from 3-point range. Still, Hurley believes the Huskies can do more on offense.

“(Hawkins) is going to add to our offensive firepower. He has the ability to really open up the court for others,” Hurley said. “To go along with what we’re doing defensively and rebounding, it just gives us more offensive punch.”

Hawkins’ teammates have already seen what the 6-foot-5 Gaithersburg, Maryland, native is capable of during practice.

“A skilled shooter. He can just put the ball in the hoop at a high clip,” UConn forward Tyrese Martin said. “He’ll probably have the jitters for the next two games, probably, especially with Auburn, his biggest college game. I feel like once he gets in a rhythm you’ll see a lot of good basketball coming from Jordan.”

Binghamton (1-2) is coming off an overtime loss to Columbia on Wednesday.

The Bearcats, who are coached by Hurley’s former Seton Hall teammate, Levell Sanders, picked up their only win of the season against another team from Connecticut. Binghamton beat Sacred Heart 72-60 Nov. 14.

Binghamton has lost all 14 of its games against ranked opponents. The closest it has come to a victory was a 75-54 loss to No. 19 Syracuse in 2003.

Huskies land a big one

Hurley has added quite a few building blocks for his program on the recruiting trail lately.

The Huskies landed another big building block on Friday. Actually, they added a whole castle.

Stephon Castle, a 6-foot-6 combo guard from Newton, Georgia, announced Friday that he would be joining Hurley’s Huskies.

Ranked No. 27 in the Class of 2023 by 24sports.com, Castle chose the Huskies over offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Ohio State, among others.

Hurley, of course, isn’t securing such talented players by himself. UConn associate head coach Kimani Young and the rest of the coaching staff are contributing plenty.

Young and other members of Castle’s family arranged to have Castle’s grandmother, Ann James, surprise him in Storrs while on his official visit to UConn. James lives in New York and Castle hadn’t seen her since prior to the pandemic.

Posted in New Britain Herald, UConn on Sunday, 21 November 2021 19:34. Updated: Sunday, 21 November 2021 19:36.