Javontae Hawkins is a 26 year old 196cm forward from Huntigton, West Virginia playing his third professional season and first with the Crailsheim Merlins currently averaging 16,4ppg, 4,6rpg and 1,4apg. Last season he played with Holargos B.C. (Greece-A1) playing 29 games averaging 11.7ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 77.5%. As a rookie he played with the Salon Vilpas Vikings (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 54 games averaging 14.3ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 40.6%, FT: 79.9%. He played NCAA basketball at three schools with S Florida from 2012-2014 playing 54 NCAA games, then had his break out season with Eastern Kentucky (NCAA) playing 30 games averaging 17.0ppg, 4.8rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 56.4%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 76.5% and finished at Fordham (NCAA) playing 31 games averaging 14.0ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 46.5%, 3PT: 35.2%, FT: 84.3%. He and germanhoops.com have teamed up for a diary from the BBL tournament in Munich
Crailsheim suffered their second loss in the tournament against FC Bayern Munich. How tough has it been experiencing these loses considering how good everything was working before COVID-19 hit?
It’s very tough, but it’s a learning situation for us as a team. With injury and new players we have to find a way to be the best version of ourselves. The coaches have been doing a great job of that during this tournament in reminding us who we are, what we do and how we can become better. The past is the past and I feel like every team in the BBL respects us for what we did and brought to the table at full strength
It is obvious that you are a big time competitor and are focused to beat any team. But the overall talent level between both teams was very big. What were the biggest problems that the Merlins had? Was it containing their hot shooting or defense which forced you to 19 turnovers.
The biggest problem we had was inexperience. However I am proud of how we stayed in the fights despite the result.
A big loss was not having the services of Dewayne Russell. How proud are you of kids Liam Carpenter and Aleksa Kovacevic for doing the best job they could against the top team in the BBL?
It was very tough to not have Dewayne Russell out there on the court as our starting point guard. He has been exceptional all year, and has had an MVP season but it’s the right thing to do for him to sit out for the best interest of his future. The younger guys like Liam, Aleksa and Vladan came in and gave a lot of energy and played with no fear. I respect those guys especially Liam who has been working so hard all year despite seeing limited action. Those guys deserve to be out there due to the hard work and patience they’ve had all year and on top of being GREAT teammates.
You had 8 points and 4 rebounds in 23 minutes and took the third most shots on the team. When you look back at the game, could you have been more aggressive on the offensive end?
I think my performance wasn’t the best. But it’s not about what I do, or how many points I put up. In the second half I focused on playing the right way instead of trying to take over the game by making the right plays, getting guys open shots and being a great teammate. I just want the younger guys to know that despite defeat you must continue to play the right way.
The club is now 0-2 and faces 2-0 Ulm. You face a must win and a win would do wonders for the club. Do you still have memories of the 91-79 win over Ulm during the regular season?
I feel like every time we lace them up we have an opportunity to win. We have an opportunity to be better than yesterday. And it’s key to keep our same principles going into the game against Ulm. What we did earlier against Ulm is in the books, it’s fun to talk about and look back on but we must focus on reality and try to find a way to win this time around.
Ratiopharm Ulm are one of the favorites to win the title now and have a very deep roster. What will be most key to get the win?
The biggest key for us to win is to be who we are and play how we practice. And be happy with the results in the end as long as we played our best and left it all on the floor.
You play against so many guys, but do you get excited over playing against a guy like ex Kentucky guard Archie Goodwin who played many years in the NBA?
I always get excited about playing against all players. Archie Goodwin is a great player. But there is no one I feel like I have to prove that I can play at a high level. I know what I can do and I believe that what I do best is what’s best for the team no matter who I’m going against.
How have the last days been in the hotel? Have you had any chats with opponents or has your focus been on keeping your distance from other players?
Me and Jarelle Reishel, Christian Sengfelder, Tre Mcclean, Zamal Nixion, Teyvon Myers have all had conversations since being in the hotel about the season, about future plans, etc. I wish those guys a healthy tournament and future seasons.
Have you checked out the game room yet? Any favorite games that has caught your attention?
I have no checked out the game room yet but I plan on checking it out very soon.
Thanks Javontae for the chat.