Hawkins Leading Wildcats

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By WSIL Sports

MARION -- If Shane Hawkins has had any trouble transitioning from Trico to Marion, it hasn't showed in his first few months on the job. Hawkins and the Wildcats are undefeated after their first four games, winning the Pyramid Plus for the first time since 2006.

"When you're new you never know how the transition is going to be and these guys have been great," Hawkins said.

After seven years coaching collegiately, Hawkins accepted his first head coaching job at Trico in 2006. He spent six seasons with the Pioneers, winning 146 games and three regional titles.

"It would have probably been easier to stay there because everything was in place," he said.

But the opportunity to coach in the area's premier basketball conference, the South Seven, was too good to turn down. Hawkins inherits a program that's struggled in recent years. Last season the Wildcats won only 12 games under head coach Aaron Mattox.

"I was nervous about it because I had been in his system for three years prior but I mean, he's a winner and that's what he's bringing to the table," Wildcats senior guard Jawan Tucker said.

"It doesn't matter what level of basketball, if you believe in a system and you play as hard as we've played, then you can be successful," Hawkins added.

The Pinckneyville native credits that defensive-minded system with his success. He learned it working as a graduate assistant under Bruce Weber at SIU and later as an assistant coach to Chris Lowery.

"I thought it would be a process, and it is, but it's always nice to have some success along the way while we still have room for improvement."

"Last year we stood around and dribbled or shot and now we've got to pass and cut and stay moving," Wildcats senior guard Malik Stuckey said. "If you don't, you get taken out of the game."

So far the change of pace has worked well for Hawkins and the Wildcats.
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