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Chron: Hawkins' dream of making NBA team nearing reality

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by ron413, Oct 28, 2002.

  1. ron413

    ron413 Contributing Member

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    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/sports/bk/bkn/1636204

    Oct. 27, 2002, 11:00PM

    JOURNEY'S END:
    Hawkins' dream of making NBA team nearing reality
    By JANNY HU
    Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle


    Rockets forward Juaquin Hawkins always has dreaded this time of the year, and for good reason. Ever since he graduated from Long Beach State in 1996, Halloween is when he learned his dreams of playing in the NBA would have to wait, yet again.

    It happened in '96, when he was the final cut made by the Los Angeles Lakers, and two years later, when the crosstown Clippers did the same.

    So when Hawkins finished his season with the ABA2000's Southern California Surf in July, and coaches Scott Brooks and Earl Cureton recommended the Rockets invite him to training camp this year, Hawkins had an inkling of how things might end.

    This wasn't it.

    All indications are that Hawkins has earned his spot on the Rockets' roster, which must be cut to at most 15 players by 5 p.m. today (if three are on the injured list).

    The 6-7, 220-pound forward continually impressed coaches with his hard-nosed defense during training camp and the preseason, and after years of globe-trotting and league-hopping to improve his basketball skills, it seems Hawkins' journey to the NBA is finally over.

    "It feels a lot better being on this end of (the final cut)," Hawkins said Sunday. "I've been so close, but just couldn't get through. This is my third time around -- I've been to two other camps and both times I was the last cut. Me being 29 years olds, I was like, `I've had my chances, it's not in the cards for me.' But this is truly a blessing."

    Hawkins wasn't even on the radar a few months ago, when he played for Brooks and Cureton in the ABA2000. The former Rockets, who were teammates on Houston's 1994 World Championship squad, immediately took a liking to Hawkins, who had spent the past five years in developmental and international leagues.

    His defensive tenacity and determination to improve reminded them of their own stepladder NBA careers -- Cureton bounced around seven different teams and Brooks six. Hawkins had played in the CBA, USBL and overseas in the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan and China before averaging 13.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and a league-high 2.4 steals per game for the Southern California Surf last season.

    Cureton believed he would be a perfect fit for the Rockets and coach Rudy Tomjanovich, who's known for putting high stock in players that have been through the ringer. So he called the Rockets' front office almost every day in August to get Hawkins an invitation to training camp.

    "When you play in these minor leagues for years, you're not making very much money or playing in front of a lot of people," Cureton said. "It makes them appreciate that level a whole lot more.

    "His biggest strength is that he can defend. He's like Dennis Rodman. Hawk -- his hair is not going to be green, he's not going to have tattoos or ear rings, but he'll defend like him. He's been through his wars."

    Tomjanovich said Sunday he wasn't surprised that Hawkins is in position to make his first NBA team, given the sterling recommendation from Brooks and Cureton.

    But the Rockets also never asked Hawkins his preferred jersey number when he reported for training camp at the beginning of October. They assigned him jersey No. 29, which few players wear, and later had to change it when Hawkins requested No. 1, in honor of Cureton and Brooks, who wore the number during his three years with the Rockets.

    "I wanted to get their number and show them how much I appreciated them getting me to this point," Hawkins said. "I know I would not have been here without those two."

    Hawkins will be listed as a rookie, but Tomjanovich thinks of him more as a veteran, given his extensive experience overseas. Hawkins has even spent time with the Harlem Globetrotters where he primarily handled "dunking duties." He can defend both guard positions and his natural small forward spot, and offensively has developed a nice jump shot over the years.

    As for finding a permanent home in the NBA, Hawkins said he is thrilled things worked out with the Rockets after his disappointments in LA.

    But he'll wait until 5:01 p.m. to celebrate.

    "You know what, I won't be glad until tomorrow," Hawkins said. "I kind of can see the light, but I want to be able to grab it and be like, `OK, it's finally over.' "
     
  2. ron413

    ron413 Contributing Member

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    (Paperboy has made his final delivery for the day. Where's my two dollars?)

    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/sports/bk/bkn/1636165

    Oct. 27, 2002, 11:07PM

    -Rockets summary-

    He's got legs

    By the time Glen Rice reached the Rockets' locker room, Cuttino Mobley was ready for him.

    "Don't throw that pass," Mobley said, mimicking the training-camp order that on Sunday became obsolete. "Don't throw that pass."

    On Sunday, Mobley threw it and Rice went up and got it, slamming in an alley-oop that had the locker room buzzing.

    "That's a play they tell you to spin and go for a lob," Rice said. "In training camp, I said don't throw me the lob. Tonight, that felt good. I had hard layups before. But that felt good."

    Rice is not likely to build his offense around rim-rattling, but that dunk might have been a good indicator of what could come.

    "Shooting is about your legs," he said. "Absolutely."

    The spring in his legs has been noticed.

    "He's been doing real well," Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "He's been getting up and down, and that lob was awesome. His legs play such a big part in his shot. It's coming around."

    Interacting

    The Rockets drew about 3,000 for Sunday evening's public scrimmage. With fans allowed to sit where they chose in Compaq Center, many could be easily heard conversing with players and coaches.

    "It's just good to have that interaction with the public," Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "It's important to us. A lot of times, people wouldn't get to games. And when they're up close and personal like that, we feed off that."

    Tomjanovich said he could even put the evening to use. Public scrimmages are generally not terribly competitive. But the Rockets went through a tape session and a more traditional practice before playing for the crowd.

    "We did have a practice before," Tomjanovich said of the evening's three hours of work. "We started at 5, so it was a long day. There's still so much to cover, and we're trying to catch up some people. Certain guys missed practice, missing (learning) certain sets, so we have to get them ready."

    Sign of the times

    Yao Ming still has not escaped the unusual demands on his time to get into a rhythm.

    On Sunday, he spent four hours signing basketball cards.

    Asked the biggest adjustment so far in his move to the NBA, he said: "Autographs."

    He has, however, added to his vocabulary. By Sunday, he was greeting the media with "Wassup?"

    A Capers fan

    Rudy Tomjanovich heard the Texans' score in the background Sunday and nearly jumped from his chair. He did raise a clenched fist and shouted "Yes" at the news.

    "I want all of our teams to do well," he said. But Tomjanovich had met Texans coach Dom Capers once and heard a story of his loyalty to his assistant coaches in Carolina, and that was enough to make him a fan.

    "I met Dom Capers at a shoot for Norton Ditto," Tomjanovich said. "I really liked the guy. But I heard the story about him and his assistant coaches, and I love the guy."

    -- JONATHAN FEIGEN
     
  3. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    hey paperboy, can you find that awesome photo of Hawkins from the paper??
     
  4. ricerocket

    ricerocket Member

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    Where are all the Rice bashers now? :D
     
  5. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld ಠ_ರೃ
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    Would be kind of sad if he still got cut after all :D.
     
  6. thumbs

    thumbs Contributing Member

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    Det, you have a mean streak in you.;)
     
  7. GATER

    GATER Contributing Member

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    Still here. And Rice is still the the highest paid player on the Rockets roster. And the 2002-03 season has yet to begin.

    And besides, I have a win-win scenario. If Rice is as bad as expected, I have the "I told you so" to fall back on. And if Rice delivers some decent stats in helping the Rox recover from the horror of last season, I will just sit back and enjoy it!

    C'mon Glen..."crow" is easily washed away by a good cold beverage from the 'fridge!

    Back on topic - Good luck to Juaquin Hawkins. The Rox can use his "D".
     
  8. ricerocket

    ricerocket Member

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    Go Hawkins... :D

    I still don't get the Rice is expensive bit. The salary differences after that trade were not that much. Wasn't it like 2 mil difference. Would you rather have Shandn Anderson? Don't use the injury thing, insurance likely paid for Rice a lot of last year.
     
  9. RocksMillenium

    RocksMillenium Contributing Member

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    I don't understand people's obsession with Rice being the highest paid player. We're light years over the cap with or without him, so why should the fans worried about what he is getting paid? It beats paying Shandon Anderson big money which the Rockets would have done anyway. And I don't think Rice's entire 9 million dollars counts against the cap. And why are there Rockets fans that expect Rice to be bad, while the players, coaching staff, and people who watched him in practice expect him to be good?

    Also, what's up with Pete Mickeal? I haven't heard anything about him being cut, is he still in the hospital? I wonder if the Rockets haven't cut him yet because they want to wait for him to come out of the hospital instead of cutting somebody while they're laid up in the hospital.
     
  10. ron413

    ron413 Contributing Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  11. DearRock

    DearRock Contributing Member

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    What position does the guy(Hawk) play? Insider has him as a SF.
     
  12. ricerocket

    ricerocket Member

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    The two and three... :)
     
  13. GATER

    GATER Contributing Member

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    First, not an obsession - an observation.

    Secondly, look up the word "value" in the dictionary.

    The "obsession" is not the money or the cap impact. The Rox may have "owed" Shandon but I have always believed that there was a better deal out there. IMHO, management was blindly fixated on Rice and may not have looked for a better deal.

    It absolutely does. The only concession was the $1m dollar the Rockets received from the Knicks after Alexander complained about Rice's physical.


    To be accurate, you will recall Rice's acquisition was celebrated by the majority of this board.

    If someone were to buy into your statement 100%, then they would have to believe that management never make mistakes about player evaluations.

    Regarding players evaluating talent - Odom over Ming mean anything to you? :D
     
  14. KALIKULI

    KALIKULI Contributing Member

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    Hawkins will make it to the Rosters!He got some defensive skils that the Rockets will benifit on, He has medium frame with great footwork.
     
  15. ricerocket

    ricerocket Member

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    Count me in as one. Although last year was a big disappointment, it probably saved the rest of Rice's career. He was able to fully rehabilitate and come back. There are enough really good players to allow him to continue to work back while contributing greatly. He's "only" just now getting into form. An alley oop slam! Hell, he couldn't touch the bottom of the net last year... :eek: Besides, he only cost 2 mil per season more than Cato... :p
     
  16. VesceySux

    VesceySux Contributing Member

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    ... And the cool thing is, that 4 hours was spent signing trading cards for my company (for many different upcoming b-ball products). :cool: We'll see how they turn out. The licensing guys expect them in-house this week...
     
  17. RocksMillenium

    RocksMillenium Contributing Member

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    I totally agree, Rice is starting to play like he did his first year in LA, his last great year. Don't forget the Rockets also got a draft pick along with Rice (remember the entire controversy with the Rocks supposedly holding up the trade for a draft compensation), so it also gave a boost to the youth movement. Also don't forget, Griffin has been stroking it like crazy from the outside, and Rice has been working with his shot for the last year.

    <b>If someone were to buy into your statement 100%, then they would have to believe that management never make mistakes about player evaluations.

    Regarding players evaluating talent - Odom over Ming mean anything to you? </b>

    But I'm willing to trust management's judgement when they see a player everyday over fans who only see clips. You're judging Rice on the way he played the last 2 years with a foot injury, Rockets players, management and others are judging Rice on how he is playing now that he is healthy, and they see him everyday. Even Clutch said that Rice was moving much better and cutting much more to the basket when he saw Rice during training camp workouts. Don't forget, while Mobley and Francis wanted Odom, Rudy and management wanted Ming, and they're also the ones who think that Rice is ready to go.
     
    #17 RocksMillenium, Oct 28, 2002
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2002
  18. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    did they get draft compensation for Rice. I thought they only got cash compensation.
     
  19. rockbox

    rockbox Contributing Member

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    You are right HP. The Mavs and Knicks forked over a million a piece to get the deal done. The rocks were trying to get a draft pick but the knicks balked.

    http://www.clutchcity.net/news.cfm?NewsID=785
     
  20. codell

    codell Contributing Member

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    The Rockets also received the draft rights to Kyle Hill. Not sure if you would consider that compensation or not. lol
     
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