Emerging Hawley

As one of the state's gifted sophomore hoopsters, Rogers' Aaron Hawley (6-6, 180) draws comparisons to a couple of game's best when it comes to skill set and basketball instinct.

To those who think old school, Larry Bird comes to mind.

To those not fortunate enough to see the majesty of Larry Legend when he was with the Boston Celtics, think Gonzaga alum Adam Morrison.

Whatever your age bracket, its easy to see that Rogers sophomore small forward Aaron Hawley (6-6, 180) is a player like those two in that he has the combination of great ability and basketball instincts.

That was once again evident this past weekend as Hawley played for the Arkansas Wings in the Next Level Ballers Tournament in Duncanville, Texas.

"I think my strengths right now are that I can shoot the ball pretty well and understand the game," Hawley said. "I'm trying to work hard to improve my all-around game to be able to do whatever my team needs me to do to win."

Hawley averaged 12.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game this past season, shot 80 percent from the free throw line and is just one of the talented prospects in a loaded sophomore class in Arkansas.

The all-conference and all-state tournament performer saved some of his best work for last when he scored 30 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in a 72-57 win over Little Rock Central in Class 7A state tournament action.

Hawley was 11 of 15 from the floor, 7 of 8 from the free throw line and knocked down a 3-pointer while showing off his impressive mid-range game as well.

"I was just hot that game, Hawley said. "My teammates were doing a great job of moving the ball around and I got some shots and just kept knocking them down."

Hawley is likely to see plenty of Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey the next couple of years and the new Razorback coach got his first chance to see Hawley in Texas last weekend.

"I just saw him for the first time today and he looks real young, but he also seems like a good guy," Hawley said. "I think he's really going to do well there."

Hawley is playing for Wings squad coached by Greg White and Jon David Parker.

It is an assemblage of mostly Northwest Arkansas talent that includes Fayetteville's Jeff Wittke, Huntsville's Evan Robinson, Fort Smith Southside's Chase White and Marshall Paker, Northside's Kevin Arnold, Fayetteville Christian's Kevin Hinsey and Siloam Springs' Chris Eshnaur.

Joining those players are Heber Springs senior Lathe Massey and Sylvan Hill's Julian Bassett.

"I really love playing with these guys," Hawley said. ‘We're just unselfish and we all really like passing the ball and getting it upcourt. We are always looking to get it upcourt and to the open man and it has helped us burn some other teams out."

The Texas tournament was the first one for the Wings this summer, but they will play in at least three others.

With a gifted offensive game already blossoming, Hawley said his goal is to improve in two other areas in particular this spring and summer.

"I am working on my defense and lifting weights a lot," Hawley said. "I am just trying to get quicker and stronger."

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