May 9, 2012, 2:43 PM EST
Questions have been raised for some time about the relationship between academics and the student-athlete at the collegiate level. See: one-and-done, academic ineligibility, prep schools, etc., etc.
So it’s refreshing to see a story of an athlete who has excelled in the classroom, the type of story that is many times swept under the carpet, in favor of the juicier, more salacious types, the “scandals” and “NCAA investigations.”
Justin Hawkins averaged 7.8 points and 2.9 rebounds for UNLV this past season and this weekend he’ll be graduating from that university on the accelerated, three-year track.
The story is recounted by Ryan Greene of RunRebs.com, telling the story of how Hawkins loaded his academic calendar and took classes in the summer to put himself in a position to graduate early.
“I think that’s what actually helped push me,” Hawkins told RunRebs.com. “You’ve got to teach yourself, do the physical work, and no one’s there to tell you when you have to do a test, do a paper, take a quiz online. You have to be willing to go out to get your education.”
He is in hotel management, understandably a big major in the tourist-rich Las Vegas area, and Hawkins has even interned at the MGM Grand while balancing school and basketball.
He will have one year of eligibility left and will begin work in the fall on a master’s in public administration.
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