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Hawkins one of Arkansas’ basketball legends

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Hawkins one of Arkansas’ basketball legends

One of the best free throw shooters in school history, Darrell Hawkins had the misfortune of suffering a season-ending injury in 1991, but then the fortune of playing on five championship basketball squads for the Razorbacks.

Hawkins was a part of Southwest Conference title teams as a freshman and sophomore before a torn Achilles tendon four games into the 1991 season ended his year. Arkansas won its third straight SWC title that year, but he helped the Razorbacks win the Southeastern Conference their first year in the league in 1992 and the SEC’s Western Division title in 1993.

Currently a member of the staff at the University of Houston, the 6-5 forward from Prairie View, Texas, lettered in 1989, 1990, 1992 and 1993, in addition to playing in the first four games of the 1991 season.

Those five squads were 25-7, 30-5, 34-4, 26-8 and 22-9, respectively, with five regular season championships, three tournament titles and five final top 20 national rankings.

Arkansas reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament his freshman season, the Final Four his sophomore year, the Elite Eight his redshirt year, the second round his junior season and the Sweet 16 his final campaign.

Hawkins played in nine NCAA Tournament games and holds the school record for career free throw percentage in the post-season. He made 20-of-22 free throws for a percentage of .901.

The “Hawk” played in all 35 games of the 1990 Final Four season, averaging 4.1 points and 1.8 rebounds.

As a junior, he averaged 6.7 points as the team’s sixth man, including a 22-point effort in the NCAA Tournament against Memphis.

A team captain his senior year, he was third on the team in scoring with 13.3 points and second with 4.5 rebounds to earn third-team All-SEC honors. He started 29 of 31 games, and shot 51.4 percent from the floor, 45.2 percent on threes and 82.8 percent at the line.

He led the team in scoring six times, including a 20-point outing against St. John’s in an 80-74 NCAA Tournament second round victory to send the Hogs to the Sweet 16. He was 9-of-11 shooting in that game and added six rebounds.

He scored 841 points for his career, an average of 6.8 per game.

He has the fifth-best career free throw percentage in school history, making 194-of-231 attempts for a mark of .840. He has the best SEC career percentage in school history of .885 (77-87) and is tied with Pat Bradley for the best SEC single-season mark of .941 (32-34).

Hawkins led the team with a .914 percentage in 1992 (74-81) and an .828 mark in 1993 (96-116).

Hawkins went on to play professionally in the Continental Basketball Association, the United States Basketball League and overseas in China and Europe.

A 1992 graduate of the University of Arkansas with a degree in marketing, he worked for Cingular Wireless before going into coaching as an assistant at Prairie View A&M in 2003. The interim head coach at Prairie View in 2006, he helped the Panthers when their first Southwestern Athletic Conference championship in 40 years in 2003. He is now in his third season as an administrative assistant on the coaching staff at the University of Houston.

A finalist for high school player of the year in Texas, he was all-state, all-district and all-Greater Houston after averaging 27.0 points and 15.0 rebounds in helping Waller High go 24-5 as a senior.

The University of Arkansas’ Athletic Department recognizes its heritage and the countless contributions made by African-American student-athletes in all 19 of its varsity sports. The Razorbacks are proud to celebrate this great tradition and recognize some of the inspiring pioneers, great student-athletes and outstanding role models that have worn a Razorback uniform as a part of Black History Month.



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