Michigan's basketball staff stepped definitively into the future yesterday when they began offering prospects from the class of 2012 on the first day they could contact them. Flint Powers sophomore guard Javontae Hawkins is among the players in that class that the Wolverines have long had their eye on. It had been rumored for months that the explosive youngster had received a verbal offer from the Maize & Blue. The rumor wasn't true, however, until now.
Hawkins visited Michigan with his father Monday and chance to sit down with John Beilein discuss the future. It was during that discussion that Hawkins received definitive word about how he fits into Michigan's.
"We were talking with Coach Beilein and he began looking at my grades." Hawkins recalled. "Then he told me how much he liked me grades and that they were offering me a scholarship to The University of Michigan (on Tuesday)."
It was welcome news for the Hawkins', who have an extremely high opinion of Beilein after having visited Michigan three times during the season before dropping in for a fourth time Monday.
"Coach Beilein is high in character and integrity," Hawkins' father said. "I appreciate that."
"I like that Coach Beilein has character," added Javontae. "I also like the way he handles players after a loss by encouraging them."
Many predicted such glowing impressions of the Maize & Blue would be overshadowed by the departure of former Michigan assistant Mike Jackson. Hawkins would certainly rank as a candidate for such a phenomena since Jackson was his primary recruiter, but thus far he hasn't been adversely affected."
"Coach Jackson was the one I was close to, but I like Coach (Bacari) Alexander as well," said Hawkins. "I felt comfortable right away. Both of them are a lot alike. I really enjoyed talking with him and Coach (Lavall) Jordan."
Added Mr. Hawkins, "Coach Alexander is a friendly and humble person with integrity. He is a people person and I enjoyed speaking with him. Talking with him it seemed that we have always known each other."
Further enhancing the Hawkins' overall impression of the program were the athletic facilities.
"I was impressed with the structures around campus," Mr. Hawkins stated. "Construction means growth and that is a good thing."
Particularly memorable was the virtual tour he took of the new practice facility.
"On the left side coming into Crisler it shows Coach Beilein's office right by player development and the new weight room," he said. "It was really nice."
Although still early in the process the Hawkins family has already established many of the criteria that they are looking for when evaluating colleges. Thus far Michigan has done a good job of living up to those standards.
"Well number one it is all about academics because that will always be important," Mr. Hawkins explained. "Number two is he a good fit for the program and is the program and good fit for him. Michigan presents him with that opportunity. It is definitely a program we will look at. We have more visits coming we just want Javontae to make the right decision."
Not surprisingly, Javontae echoes many of his father's sentiments.
"A top notch education is very important along with the social background and nice athletics," he said. "I have a lot of interest in Michigan and I can see myself playing there. I just want to take my time (with recruiting) and talk it over with my family."