From March Madness to sadness, Utica's Hawkins experiences emotional roller-coaster in first season at Robert Morris

Former Proctor standout Jalen Hawkins helped the Colonials to an NEC title and would-be trip to the NCAA Tournament before it was cancelled due to coronavirus.

Posted: Mar 21, 2020 12:29 AM

UTICA, N.Y. - Former Proctor basketball standout Jalen Hawkins returned to Utica for the summer as a North East Conference (NEC) champion.

After playing one year of junior college, the former Raiders star just finished his first year playing NCAA Division I basketball. He helped Robert Morris University capture its conference title, and at the time, an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

"The first year of Division I basketball was a major success," Hawkins said. "I had to come in and learn how to play the game of basketball the right way. My coach had faith in me to teach me the right way and it was an amazing experience."

The NEC top-seed Colonials topped No. 2 Saint Francis University of Pennsylvania 77-67 in the championship game on March 10 with Hawkins logging 22 minutes of game action, registering three points, three rebounds and an assist. The game was broadcast nationally on ESPN.

Less than 48 hours later, on March 12, the NCAA announced that the national tournament would be cancelled due to the widespread coronavirus outbreak.

"That was a major disappointment to me and my team especially our seniors who are having a great year this year," said Hawkins. "The tournament is a major way to get seen by scouts and major deals."

According to Hawkins, Robert Morris head coach Andrew Toole had words of encouragement for the team after the devastating news.

He told us to stay positive and to always stay in the gym," said Hawkins. "No matter what happens just stay positive."

Expecting a bigger role next season, Hawkins said Coach Toole told him he wants him to take more shots and become a more prominent part of the offense.

Those words plus the abrupt ending to this season has the Utica native itching already for next season to begin.

"It's a lot of motivation," he said. "I can't wait for it to come."

Hawkins finished the season averaging 7.3 points, 1.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 0.9 steals per game.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 423440

Reported Deaths: 32805
CountyConfirmedDeaths
New York City22916723610
Suffolk439871998
Nassau437952195
Westchester363571447
Rockland13973674
Orange11210491
Erie9033671
Monroe5079285
Dutchess4640153
Onondaga3627200
Albany2636128
Oneida2183115
Ulster208192
Niagara151898
Sullivan149148
Putnam145563
Broome115369
Schenectady108437
Rensselaer78230
Saratoga77417
Columbia55037
Madison41717
Ontario36534
Warren31233
Steuben30142
Fulton30024
Orleans29954
Greene29618
Genesee2805
Herkimer2784
St. Lawrence2634
Wayne2633
Chautauqua2609
Washington26014
Oswego2583
Tompkins2340
Chenango2186
Tioga19425
Chemung1843
Montgomery1794
Livingston1768
Cattaraugus1696
Cayuga1622
Jefferson1420
Clinton1294
Otsego1185
Wyoming1185
Delaware1074
Cortland970
Seneca923
Allegany801
Schoharie690
Yates587
Essex560
Franklin540
Lewis470
Schuyler220
Hamilton80
Unassigned00
Utica
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 70°
Oneonta
Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 64°
Herkimer
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 70°
Thendara
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 70°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Click here to learn more about A Healthier Mohawk Valley
Ask EPLC Sweepstakes
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve
Senior Send-Off brought to you by Herkimer College
WKTV Golf Card - Under 150 left