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Hawkins Leaving Her Mark

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Senior point guard Maya Hawkins shared her thoughts on her Rice career and went into detail on bouncing back from past injuries.  

Q: How has your game grown over the last couple of seasons from when you first arrived at Rice?

A: "The growth I've endured since my freshman year is crazy. A lot of it has to do with my coaches and teammates. My teammates have been real with me and have told me I need to look for my shot more, and create more. That's the kind of feedback that really pushed me and challenged me as a point guard, to look for my shot and shoot the three-pointer when I'm open. Of course the coaches have also pushed me to be more of a scorer. It's been an adjustment because that's not something that was really in my game coming into college, but it's been fun."

Q: What is your relationship like with the coaching staff?

A: "This staff is amazing. They came in so fired up about the program and what this team could accomplish. Their energy gave all of us energy. You can see that in the way we play and the way we practice, we reflect them. Being the point guard, Coach Langley and I have watched a lot of film together and I've been able to see what she sees out on the court. I've learned so much from her and I continue to learn. She has a very good method of teaching and she's very easy to learn from. It's been fun breaking down film with her and having her push me in practice, and even helping me with my leadership skills. She's helped me grow in so many areas."

Q: What has your recovery process been like from suffering injuries earlier in your career?

A: "Up until this point my injuries have unfortunately kind of defined my career at Rice. My freshman year, a week before the season started, I was practicing with the team and I landed wrong following a layup and I ended up fracturing my tibia. It was the worst pain, it was burning and I knew immediately something was wrong. I ended up missing the majority of the preseason. I came back right before conference started. As a freshman I was really nervous because preseason is where you hope you can find your groove. I had teammates who really encouraged me and helped me get past any self-doubts I had. I was able to come back and haven't had an issue with it (right leg) since.

Compared to my ACL tear, it was much easier to come back from. The ACL injury happened in March of '15 right after the season had ended. Again, it happened in a practice, and again it was on a layup where I was by myself and it was a non-contact injury. I had the surgery and was out for 7-8 months, so again I missed the preseason. That injury was a lot harder for me to get over mentally because I was out so much longer and had lost so much muscle. I didn't have a lot of confidence in that leg. Thankfully, when our strength coach Justin Roach came on board he really helped me not only get my leg stronger, but also helped me get over the mental block I had. Later on, he convinced me to get rid of the brace and that helped me play more carefree and at the same time helped me forget about the injury. That brace was awful!"

Q: How gratifying has it been to play injury-free since?

A: "It's made me realize how much I missed the game of basketball. Our coaches prepare us to play an entire season so I was definitely conditioned and focused enough. It's just really been fun to play an entire season. I've been blessed."

Q: What has it been like spending these last three years with your senior teammate Jasmine Goodwine and Adaeze Obinnah?

A: "It's been amazing spending these last three and a half years with those girls. I never would have thought when I met them on my visit that they'd turn into lifelong relationships. It's true when they say your teammates become your sisters. We've shared so many experiences with each other. We've formed a bond that will never be broken. We all know where each other has come from since we were freshmen and we've been able to watch each other grow. I'm so appreciative of them."

Q: What type of mark do you want to leave at Rice?

A: "I want people to remember me as a player that left it all out on the floor, that I played my hardest 100 percent of the time. That's something that I've always wanted people to know about my game. Whether it was good, bad, or ugly - I'm always going to play hard. That's something that I know inspires my teammates. They've come up to me and said how much they want to match my energy in practice. I couldn't want anything else from teammates than that. If I can be an example of the energy and the effort we give on the court, then that's something I can look back on and say, "Wow look how hard they're playing, I inspired them to do that". That would be amazing."

Q: What has Rice meant to you over these last four years?

A: "Being at Rice has been the biggest blessing ever. I didn't know much about Rice before coming here other than it was a small school. It's given me so many opportunities. They provided me a scholarship to go to Ghana. I'm majoring in sociology and it's helped me open my eyes to so many social issues. It's really challenged me not only academically, but as a person. I've grown exponentially both on and off the court."

 

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