By Jennifer Duong, UTA Communications
ARLINGTON, Texas -- On Nov. 11, the UTA men's basketball team hosts its first game of the season when it welcomes Loyola Marymount to College Park Center during Homecoming Week.
Senior guard Nathan Hawkins has been working with his teammates during the off-season to help prepare for this year. Hawkins has already earned his undergraduate degree and is currently working on his master's with hopes of attending medical school. With less than a week until the opener, get to know the Mavericks' No. 3, Nathan Hawkins.
What led you to transfer to UTA?
"When I was at the University of Nebraska I was really close with assistant coach Craig Smith. But, he got offered a head coaching job at South Dakota. I decided if he's not there any longer I would come back closer to home. I've known the UTA coaching staff since freshman year of high school. UTA was actually my first D1 offer."
What teammate has had the most impact on you?
"Drew Charles. I've known him since I was in 7th grade. We played on the Texas team, Dallas Mustangs, together. When I came to UTA, we linked up just like it was 7th grade again. He helped me fit right in since he knew how everything worked and passed that knowledge on to me. I was never lost at UTA because of him. We worked out together and he really stayed engaged with me, whether it was in the classroom, on campus, on the court or just hanging out off the court. He was like a brother to me."
What advice do you have for students following your path?
"First, it is all about focusing on making good grades! No kid wants to hear or talk about academics. But, if you don't get the grades, you don't get to play. Nine times out of ten college programs will choose the student with better grades. Another piece of advice is when you get to college, utilize every avenue and resource provided to improve yourself. It is tough to find a balance. That's why we have academic advisors, tutors and so much more. You really have to grow up and teach yourself time management. But, after some time, you'll figure it out."
Why is Creighton's Doug McDermott the best player you've ever faced?
"He was so skilled, smart and had a so many different moves. If you took one away, he had a counter for it. He could close his eyes and throw the ball to where his teammate would be simply because he knew the game so well. Having the ability to score and make plays on every level is something I tried to work on growing up. But, seeing it with someone that is so proficient at it just shows you what else you need to work on."
What is your most memorable game?
"The Akron game here at the College Park Center in March. We got the win in front of a huge, super-energized crowd. Erick Neal was throwing crazy passes and people were dunking the ball. I got a dunk that game - thanks to Erick for bouncing the ball off the floor, which I did not expect. That got me my first (ESPN) SportsCenter dunk appearance ever."
How do you feel about this upcoming season?
"Great. We are trying to bring in the new guys and incorporate them into the things we do. It is clearly a learning process. Every day I feel we are getting better. We have a lot of talent."
Who are you expecting the most from?
"Johnny Hamilton. He's athletic, can jump, run and he's a vet. I feel like Johnny is going to have a good time this year."
What do you feel will be different between last season and this upcoming one?
"We don't have the same core players. We are losing four guys that played significant minutes and now we have to fill in those spots. It's like a new team because these guys have never all played together at once. I think that is going to be the biggest challenge for us."
Describe your fashion style.
"I like to be different. Like the way I style my hair, my earrings I have. I wear different tights during practice because I want to stand out and I want to have fun. That's my thing, I don't generally want to just go along with the crowd."
HOW TO PURCHASE TICKETS
Full season and single game tickets to attend UTA men and women's basketball events are on sale through the UTA Box Office in person or by calling (817) 272-8585 and online through UTATickets.com. Season tickets are available for as low as $99 for all 30 men and women's games, which comes out to $3.30 per game. Single game tickets are priced at $8, $12 and $25 per game, depending on seat location. UTA students and faculty staff tickets are available for just $5 for a single game or at a reduced rate for season tickets. Discount Maverick Club (season) and general public (single game) parking is also available. Visit UTATickets.com for detailed information.
FOLLOW THE MAVS SOCIALLY
For up-to-date news, photos, videos and updates you can follow UTA sports program online at UTAMavs.com or via any of several social media accounts on twitter @UTAMavs, Instagram @UTAMavs, Snapchat @UTAMavs and Facebook at UTArlingtonAthletics. Follow the UTA basketball programs on Twitter at @UTA_MBB and @LadyMavHoops.
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