Indiana recruit joins Colonials
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As Robert Morris coach Andy Toole watched tape of potential recruit Stephan Hawkins, he couldn't believe what his assistants were telling him.
Toole saw a long, athletic high school player with a good shooting touch that should have his pick of scholarship offers.
"We saw him at the beginning of the summer and we jumped on him right away," Toole said.
"[Assistant coach] Robby [Pridgen] was telling me not a lot of people were recruiting him, and I told him, 'You're lying to me. He's 6 feet 9, he can make a 15-footer, he has good hands, he's mobile.'"
Pridgen wasn't lying, though. Hawkins said the only other Division I schools that really showed interest in him were Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and DePaul.
The Gary, Ind., native visited Robert Morris the first weekend he could and signed a letter of intent with the Colonials during the November early signing period last year.
Toole said he thought the lack of interest was mostly because Hawkins had to sit out his entire junior season after a high school transfer.
What other schools missed, Toole sees as Robert Morris' gain. Hawkins arrived on campus around 11 p.m. Monday and worked out with his new teammates for the first time Tuesday.
"It's a lot more intense," Hawkins said. "There's not as many breaks; you go one after another consistently."
At 6 feet 9 and 205 pounds, Hawkins will certainly have to bulk up a bit before he's ready to muscle up with the rest of the forwards in the Northeast Conference. Still, Toole thinks Hawkins will work his way onto the court sooner rather than later.
"We don't try and recruit guys that can't help us when they get here," Toole said.
"You've only got four years, you've only got about 120 games. We want as many guys that can come in the door and help our program, and I think he's going to be one of those guys."
Hawkins said experienced Robert Morris forwards such as Lijah Thompson and Mike McFadden have given some pointers on making the adjustment from high school to college basketball.
"They were just telling me work hard and, no matter what, keep pushing yourself," Hawkins said. "Even when you're tired, it's going to get easier as the days go on.
"[Toole] is going to push you until you feel like quitting, but I'm not going to give up. I'm going to keep on pushing until I get to where I want to go."
The next step will be taking the court for the Colonials for the first time.
"I'm ready to go now," he said with a smile. "That's all I think about every day, just getting ready."
First Published June 14, 2012 12:00 am