He was the runt in a pack of six brothers, but lack of size and physique did not stop the Navarro College junior transfer from chasing his dream of playing college basketball.
Harrison Hawkins, a guard from Long Beach, Calif. came from a family of nine with six older brothers who helped him learn quick by playing pick-up games in the backyard.
“My brothers, they definitely pushed me, in life and physically on the court,” Hawkins said. “They made me toughen up at a young age, because I guess they got tired of me nagging at them when I was young to play with them. And when I got my chance, they made sure to make me understand why I could not play with them.”
Over the years, it was hard for Hawkins to watch his brothers play knowing he was too small.
He grew a few inches, put some meat on his bones and began to play with his brothers at the age of nine. He was pushed, pulled, elbowed, kicked and sometimes came out with a few bloody scratches from the hot California pavement. After learning the game from his brothers, he quickly realized he wanted to play this game in college.
“My oldest brother had a little taste of college basketball, and watching him made me want to play at that level someday,” Hawkins said.
Fast forward nine years later; Hawkins earned a scholarship at Navarro College, in Corsicana. During his freshman year, his team finished with an overall 25-8 record and a Regional XIV Championship. Sophomore year, Hawkins averaged nine points and three steals per game. He found out he had the clutch gene, ice coursing through his veins when he sunk five game-winning shots in his final year at Navarro.
Hawkins noticed ACU coaches found their way to Navarro games to scout the talent.
“I would see coach Golding and the assistant coaches walk into the gym to watch us play, and I made sure to turn their heads,” Hawkins said.
Golding recruited Hawkins and he made an immediate impact for the purple and white.
Although the game’s result was a frustrating double-overtime loss, Hawkins posted 29 points against Southeastern Louisiana in 43 minutes of playing time. The past two games he has scored 48 points.
“Myself and Dee [LaDarrien Williams] played really well that game, and some of the coaches joked around saying, ‘Y’all never play well when the both of you are on the court,’ but it was an exciting game all the way to the finish,” Hawkins said. “You know, it was a tough loss but it truly showed our character and drive to win, not only as individuals, but as a team.”
Hawkins averages 12 points, three assists and a steal per game this season, but a stat to be respected is his three-point percentage. He has shot 40 percent beyond the arch, shooting 25-61 through 18 games.
The Wildcats, unlike the Dallas Cowboys, played with consistency, winning out in December. The Wildcats outscored their opponents by more than 27 points, destroying Open Bible College by 50 points. Hawkins racked up a total of 26 points and 18 assists over the four-game stretch.
Although the ACU’s men’s basketball team has not displayed the best results a little over halfway through the season, the team has learned what it takes to play against Div. I opponents.
“We are not proud of the results, but this season has given us a chance to really get to know each other as teammates on and off the court,” Hawkins said. “Everybody on this team comes from different backgrounds so we are going to have to learn to come together to become a good team in this conference.”
Harrison Hawkins has always known what it is like to be a part of something bigger, especially growing up in a nine-person household of all boys. He hopes the trials this season will give his teammates an understanding of playing for something greater, not the name on the back of the jersey, but the name on the front.