HOOPS: In-state big man visiting WSU

IT SEEMS LIKE everything about Cougar hoops recruiting lately has been about guards, guards, guards. But Ken Bone is bringing in a Seattle-area post prospect this weekend for an official visit to Washington State. He also isn't the only hoops visitor.

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  • Josh Hawkinson (6-10, 235) arrives in Pullman tonight. He doesn't have a WSU offer yet but tells CF.C his relationship with the coaches, coupled with his love for Pullman, has him ready to be patient.

    Hawkinson, a strong rebounder from Shorewood High in Shoreline, Wash., will be on his third official college visit at Wazzu. He has already visited Santa Clara (Sept.30) and San Diego (Oct. 6) and has offers from both schools.

    Hawkinson jumped fully onto the Cougars radar in mid-June, when he attended Bone's Summer Elite Camp. After a solid weekend performance, he's been in touch with the Cougar coaching staff ever since.

    "That's really when they got exposed to my game," Hawkinson said. "I got to know them a little bit and it was really my first time being able to talk with the staff in depth. I liked it a lot over there and thought I played well."

    Hawkinson said he's talked most with assistant coach Ben Johnson, who specializes in working with WSU's big men.

    "He showed me video of how Brock Motum has matured in his style of play and how he (Johnson) can shape people into a life after college," Hawkinson said. "He's had plenty of guys go on to play for international teams and he's been working with Brock on his inside and outside game."

    AS A JUNIOR last season, Hawkinson averaged 18 points, 10-plus rebounds and nearly five assists per game on his way to being named first team All-Wesco League. Although he spends the majority of his time down low, Hawkinson said the WSU coaches love his versatility on the floor.

    "They really like that I'm an inside-and-out player," Hawkinson said. "I can be a threat in the post, but I can also step out and hit 3's if I want to. I'm also a really good passer who can find open shooters and guys who are cutting to the hoop."

    One thing that's unique about Hawkinson's recruitment is his lengthy relationship with Bone, whom he has known since elementary school. When Bone was an assistant at UW, he lived on the same street as the Hawkinson family and Josh developed a friendship with Bone's kids.

    "He's been to my high school a couple of times to see me and I know his family pretty well," Hawkinson said. "Bone has always told me I have good hands and I can pass the ball well. He thinks I can be a factor in the low post and they can incorporate me in their offense. He's looking at me as either a ‘4' or ‘5' and I can play either. It just depends on who I can guard. That's the main thing."

    His defense, Hawkinson said, is something both he and the WSU coaches agree he needs to work on.

    "I need to improve on my perimeter defense and lateral quickness," Hawkinson said. "Guarding guys at the D-I level is going to be a big difference compared to guys in high school. Players will be bigger and quicker, so you can't rely on how big you are. You have to go out and actually guard guys on the perimeter if you're a ‘4' because there's a lot more versatility at the next level."

    HAWKINSON SAID HE'S looking forward to "ZZUMania" on Friday and is also excited to visit Martin Stadium on Saturday for the Cougars' clash with California. As far as his recruitment goes, he said he's willing to be patient for an offer from WSU to come his way.

    "They're still looking at a couple other prospects, but they wanted to make sure I came over for an official visit," Hawkinson said. "I have offers from two other schools (Santa Clara and San Diego) that I like as well. That's the way I'm looking at it right now and I'm excited about my future."

    Although he wouldn't say who his top choice was among the three schools showing him the most interest, Hawkinson had glowing things to say about WSU.

    "It's the only school that has football out of the three schools," Hawkinson said. "San Diego does, but it's not really big over there. I really like the WSU coaching staff and the facilities on campus. Being from Washington, I have a lot of friends that go over there too."

    Hawkinson added that he is in no rush to make a college decision, but that he will likely have a better feel on which school feels right following his trip this weekend.

    Josh Hawkinson 2012 summer AAU highlights:

  • CF.C is also tracking down another frontcourt prospect firmly in the Cougars' orbit – we plan to bring you that story to you as soon as we can.

  • Noah Allen, whom CF.C did a story on earlier this week, tells CF.C he is also visiting WSU this weekend.

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