Dogged by Shooting Slump, Justin Hawkins Fails to Live Up to Sixth Man Rep


As part of our season wrap-up, we’ll be going through the Rebels’ roster one by one and assigning grades for each player, based on their performance this season. We’ll start with the guys who won’t be back next year, and then work our way up to the returning players in the coming weeks.

Today’s entry is Justin Hawkins, a senior who became a fan favorite in his four years as a Rebel.


Player: Justin Hawkins
Position: G
Year: Senior
Stats: 35 games, 22.4 minutes, 4.9 points, 1.7 assists, 1.4 steals, 32.2 FG%, 25.7 3FG%

Expectations: Because of his experience and versatility, Hawkins was pegged as one of the best “sixth men” in the country before the season started. Coach Dave Rice was counting on Hawkins to be a defensive ace in the backcourt, capable of handling tough individual matchups and also acting as a coach on the floor. There was also hope that an improved 3-point stroke would make Hawkins more of an asset on the offensive end as well.

Performance: Hawkins was dogged by a massive shooting slump during conference play, and he finished the season making just 25.7 percent from 3-point range. Even worse, he managed to hit just 32.2 percent of his shots overall, which made him an offensive liability and limited the amount of minutes Rice could play him. His shooting wasn’t the only part of his game that slumped, however — Hawkins also saw his effectiveness dip at the defensive end as the season went on. He allowed opponents to score 0.825 points per possession and shoot 35.0 percent against him, marks which ranked 10th and ninth on the team, respectively. In the NCAA tournament loss to Cal, when the Rebels could have used all the perimeter defense they could get, Hawkins played just 13 minutes.

Final Grade: C-
In all honesty, this should probably be a D+, or even a straight D. Hawkins was almost unplayable on offense during the second half of the season, losing so much confidence that he missed 23 consecutive 3-pointers over a 13-game stretch. And on the other end, his defense slipped to average and he failed to generate as many turnovers as he had in previous seasons. So a player who was expected to be an elite sixth man and valuable glue guy instead became a spare part off the bench by the end of the year. There was also hope that Hawkins, as a four-year senior, could assume a leadership role on a young team, but he never really stepped up to the plate in that regard. Hawkins avoids a D grade because I give him credit for becoming a big part of the UNLV community and doing good work off the court. Call it a bump for good conduct.

Previous entries:
Anthony Bennett (April 15): A
Mike Moser (April 11): D+
Anthony Marshall (April 10): A-
Quintrell Thomas (April 8): B+

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  • Runnin like a Rebel

    All i have to say is that next year is going to be fun. Dantley is a shooting machine, if he redshirts, which is most likely. i’ll be dissapointed. smart kid, shoots lights out, and could be a decent option as a 1

    • ph90702

      He’s not beating out Deville Smith or Jelan Kendrick.

      • Runnin like a Rebel

        obviously. he’s a great option when we need a spark or comback

        • ph90702

          Even if he even plays next year, I doubt he shoots any better than Katin Reinhardt did this year. He’d probably shoot a lower percentage. He’s too small and lacks athleticism. I have a strong feeling that he’s going to have a hard time getting shots off unless he’s wide open. Don’t forget that he’s a fringe Division I player.

          • Runnin like a Rebel

            I only have one question for you. Have you even seen this kid play? he drains them from 30+ feet? I’ve watched about 5 of his games in person and there is no doubt that he shoots a lot better then Reinhardt

          • ph90702

            He played lousy competition. There’s a reason he has zero stars next to his name on any of the recruiting websites. If he does shoots well against teams in our conference and against good teams in the out-of-conference schedule, then I will gladly admit I was wrong.

          • Mike Grimala

            I wouldn’t expect Walker to light the world on fire right away, but you never know how his skills will translate. It’s not all about recruiting rankings — Luke Hancock and Spike Albrecht should be exhibits 1 and 1A in that regard

          • ph90702

            You do make a point, but Luke Hancock is listed at 6’6″ and 200 lbs. If you’re skilled at that size in college basketball, then you don’t have to be athletic. Spike Albrecht got hot from the three point line when nobody was guarding him. That’s all he’s brought to the table. He averaged less than two points per game before last night.

            I hope I’m wrong about Dantley Walker, but I just can’t see it. I think his best case scenario is Kendall Wallace where he makes open three pointers or rides the bench. One more thing about Walker: who’s he going to man up against on defense?

          • Runnin like a Rebel

            he’ll guard the 1. you have a point about the defensive stand point but look at Katin, he cant play D to save his life and is always needing back-up. the only thing that is good about dantley is that he can hit the open 3 about 95% of the time while Katin only hits it about 50% Katin is more wishy washy, while dantley has a better shot and in my opinion better handles than the ”flashy” Reinhardt

  • dano

    Regardless if he can shoot or not (Dantley Walker) I don’t think he will be big enough, strong enough, or fast enough to guard another 2 guard. At 6′ 5′, and a good frame, Reinhardt had a hard time playing defense against D1 class players. I hope he can be a contributor, but I think he’ll be more like a Travis Bice.