Welcome to this week’s edition of Walk The Talk, the mailbag column that focuses on mostly everything Northwest Athletics. This week, someone submitted a question about Nick Cannon, so that should be interesting. To be fair, I did say mostly everything Northwest Athletics.
What’s wrong with Ryan Hawkins?
The funny thing about this question is it was submitted before the Bearcats’ games Jan. 21 and 23. If this column would’ve come out before then, maybe we’d dive into why Hawkins hadn’t been as electric in box scores as he had been in the past. Since it’s coming out now, there’s one simple answer.
Nothing is wrong with Ryan Hawkins.
Perhaps there’s recency bias because he was just named the MIAA Player of the Week, but I’d more so look at it as a reminder that he’s still one of the best players in the league.
In those two wins over Newman and Central Oklahoma, the senior forward averaged 26.5 points and 11 rebounds. Against the Jets, Hawkins dropped 30 points, the eighth time he’s dropped at least that many while wearing a Northwest uniform.
Against the Bronchos, he dropped 23 points and 17 rebounds, good enough for his 22nd double-double during his collegiate career.
Was he in somewhat of a slump before that? Sure. But Ryan Hawkins in a slump is still the type of player other teams in the MIAA would kill to have.
He isn’t blind to the fact that he wasn’t getting as many shots to fall as he would’ve liked either.
“About time the ball goes through the hoop for me, I feel like,” Hawkins said after the win against Newman.
To put it into perspective, they’ve now only played 11 games. Last year, Northwest did that by Dec. 20. So, nothing is really wrong with Ryan Hawkins; it might just take a little bit for the old man of the team to find his rhythm.
Is Nick Cannon’s “Drumline” a sports movie?
Can the Northwest men still win the national title despite all of the close games?
Simply put, yes.
We’ve all become too accustomed to Northwest blowing out opponents. With that, a win is a win. It doesn’t matter if you’re winning by 45 or 4. If you win, you win.
Nobody is going to tell the Bearcats their most recent national title, a 64-58 win over Point Loma, isn’t valid because they only won by 6 points. Nobody would really remember if they won that game by 30 points; it just matters that they won.
Yes, Northwest has probably played a lot of games closer than what Bearcat Nation would like, but how can you expect otherwise? There was a restricted offseason, no preseason and conference-only slate in the toughest conference for Division II basketball. If you thought Northwest would come out and hand a 30-piece (not the wings, although that’d be pretty cool) to everyone, then you’re silly.
This team can and will compete for a national championship. I mean, they’re the No. 3 team in the country for a reason. They’ll probably be the unofficial host of the Central Region Tournament as soon as the NCAA announces that regional sites will be predetermined, once again marking them as the best team in the region.
Northwest is still winning by an average of 14 points per game. Northwest still has a roster full of talent, including some that somehow fell through the cracks of the Division I level. Northwest still has the best coach in Division II. You get the point.
That was all just a long, meandering way of me saying that the Bearcats can, and probably will, win a national championship despite close games throughout the first half of the regular season
Walk-the-talk is a mailbag that focuses on all things Northwest Athletics. To submit a question for the next edition of the mailbag, tweet @ByJonWalker or email email@example.com.