Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2009 | 2:05 a.m.
UNLV vs. Holy Cross
Holy Cross Crusaders(0-4) at UNLV Rebels (3-0)
Where: Thomas & Mack Center
When: 7 p.m.
Coaches: Lon Kruger is 115-53 in six seasons at UNLV and 433-286 in 24 overall seasons; Sean Kearney is 0-4 in his first season at Holy Cross and overall.
Series: UNLV leads, 1-0
Last time: The Rebels won, 92-75, in Las Vegas on Dec. 29, 1980
TV/Radio: None/ESPN Radio 1100-AM
G R.J. Evans (6-3, 200) 11.8 ppg, 9 rpg
G Andrew Beinert (6-4, 185) 11.3 ppg, 4.1 apg
F Mike Cavataio (6-4, 190) 10.5 ppg, 3.5 apg
F Eric Meister (6-8, 225) 6.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg
C Andrew Keister (6-9, 235) 14.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg
Bench: G Devin Brown (6-1, 190) 14.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg
What to watch: Cavataio left St. John’s to play for the Cross. Evans takes the most shots on the team but has the worst shooting touch – .302. The Crusaders only make 32 percent of their 3-pointers as a team. Beinert has an assists-to-turnovers ratio of better than 3-1. Look for more than a little 2-3 zone defense from HC.
G Tre’Von Willis (6-4, 195) 16.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg
G Oscar Bellfield (6-2, 180) 8.3 ppg, 4 apg
G Derrick Jasper (6-6, 215) 7.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.7 apg
F Chace Stanback (6-8, 210) 7.7 ppg, 6 rpg
C Brice Massamba (6-10, 240) 8.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Bench: G Kendall Wallace (6-4, 190) 9 ppg; F Darris Santee (6-8, 225) 5.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg; G Justin Hawkins (6-3, 190) 8 ppg, 3.7 rpg; G Anthony Marshall (6-3, 200) 4.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg; C Matt Shaw (6-8, 240) 6.7 ppg, 3 rpg; G Steve Jones (6-1, 220) 4.3 ppg.
What to watch: That turnover percentage rate hit 14.9 (19th in the nation) with those 15 turnovers against Southern Illinois. Wallace is shooting 63.6% beyond the arc. Bellfield and Jasper are shooting a combined 14-for-26 at the free-throw line. UNLV averages 85.7 points and yields 65.3 a game.
“You’re about to out him, in a way,” she says late Monday night. “Basketball does not know that side of him. He does a lot of stuff without fanfare.”
Others have noticed. The elegant card on White House stationary, with Washington, D.C., embossed on the front and President Barack Obama’s signature inside, arrived for Justin at the Hawkins home two weeks ago.
It thanks him for his selflessness and impressive service to his community. Carmen, who was “jazzed” about it, brought it to Saturday’s game against Southern Illinois.
Justin Hawkins, 19, talks quietly about helping others.
“It puts a smile on my face,” he says, “and makes me warm inside.”
Justin and younger brother Marcus have distributed blankets in skid row sections of Los Angeles with Carmen, and they have served food to the homeless during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
She has seen Justin take the shirt off his back and give it away, and he has always doled out the many shoes and sweats he acquires to aspiring young hoops hopefuls.
But when Justin Hawkins is not on a court, philanthropy is never far from his thoughts.
“You never know how your kid will accept the lessons you try to teach him,” says Carmen Hawkins, a deputy city attorney for the City of Los Angeles. “For me, now, I’m sitting back going, ‘Wow.’ I let him know, but for the Grace of God go I.
“When you see people whose circumstances are less than your own … basketball is just an avenue. It presents opportunities and experiences that he may not have had, but that’s not the beginning, middle or end of his journey in this world.”
UNLV coach Lon Kruger isn’t surprised by some of Justin Hawkins’s extra-curricular activities.
“It’s the way their family has always handled things,” Kruger says. “They’re very respected back home, not just because of basketball but as people considerate of others and always doing things for others.”
The altruism of the Hawkins family begins with Dr. Mable John, the pastor and founder of the Joy in Jesus Ministries in Westchester, Calif.
John once sang with Ray Charles, B.B. King, Sam Cook and the Flamingos. She is Carmen Hawkins’s second cousin and a grandmotherly figure to Justin.
When Carmen was a prosecutor in San Fernando, Calif., every day at lunch she picked up bread, meat and vegetables near the end of their shelf life that were donated by area grocery stores.
Justin helped her unload the food and pass it out on weekends to homeless shelters and the working poor associated with Joy in Jesus.
In conjunction with the ministry’s foster care program, Justin has organized drives to gather, and package and distribute, backpacks and school supplies for needy children.
For Mother’s Day, Justin assembled toiletry bags for the women in the shelters. For three weeks leading up to Christmas, he’d assist the church’s Angel Tree program that grants kids’ gift wishes.
Twice a year, he processed the paperwork for inner-city kids when Carmen Hawkins organized free medical services and treatment through a Teen Heal program.
They have handed out water and oranges at the L.A. Marathon, to raise funds for the ministry’s programs.
At the Genesee Center, a domestic violence shelter, Justin set up computer software programs and streamlined administrative processes. He built slides in the backyard for the kids. He’d drop by every few months.
“I’ll help out, lend a hand and give out clothes,” Hawkins says, “talk to women and children, telling them everything will be all right, that they’ll be fine. I try to be as positive an influence on them as my parents have been on me.”
Carmen has taken her oldest son behind bars so he could experience the other side of crime.
“I’ve tried to teach him to look for the good in everyone,” Carmen Hawkins says. “As long as you teach people with dignity and respect, no matter what their station in life is, they will appreciate that and they will give that back to you.”
At Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft High, Justin ran basketball drills and played games with developmentally disabled kids at an annual summer camp.
“He’s always been good with kids,” says Carmen, “taking the time to make them feel special.”
Justin Hawkins made a hard-core group of deaf UNLV basketball fans feel special when, on a recruiting trip, he conversed with them about the finer points of the game in sign language.
“He just endeared himself to them,” Carmen says. “After the game, everyone was over there ‘signing.’ He reached out to them in their world, as opposed to them trying to adjust to him in his.”
Carmen notes Justin’s dual personas and has called him Clark Kent since high school.
In one, he wears glasses and attends classes. Many of his peers don’t know he plays basketball at UNLV. Teammates don’t even know his legal name – Justin Hawkins-Young.
“People in class see me as a student here from L.A.,” Hawkins says. “I want people to see the true side of me outside basketball. I want people to see me as the student or, when I become a business man, the true nature of me.”
In his other world, he wears contact lenses and was the lone Rebel to score in double figures in UNLV’s first two games.
“By day, I’m this mild-mannered kid,” he says. “I walk around in glasses and keep to myself. When I play basketball, I’m aggressive and will do anything to win.”
He’s just as aggressive off the court, however, when he’s trying to figure out his next way to help someone else. He ponders that note from Obama. Impressive, he says.
“But there are a lot of things,” Justin Hawkins says in his next breath, “that have to be done.”