2016 Pac-12 Men's Basketball Media Day: Josh Hawkinson's parents aid Cougs in overseas trips and tournaments
SAN FRANCISCO – Scheduling tournaments and international tours for college basketball teams isn't the easiest endeavor, so it doesn’t hurt to have a little help from a team mom and pop.
Washington State did a foreign tour of Italy over the summer and will play in the Virgin Islands in November at the Paradise Jam. One major reason why the Cougs have these opportunities is because of their star forward Josh Hawkinson’s parents, Nels and Nancy. The two work for Basketball Travelers Inc., an organization that puts together international basketball tours and were responsible for scheduling these two jaunts for Wazzu. Nels started the company more than 30 years ago and says he has traveled to more than 70 countries as a result.
When Hawkinson was growing up, his parents would let him go to the Virgin Islands to be a ball boy for the tournament. He specifically remembers almost getting run over by former UConn center Hasheem Thabeet, as the 7-foot-3 big man nearly curshed the young Hawkinson diving for a loose ball. Near-smothering experience aside, Josh loved the action of being a ball boy, which he was from the time he was 4 years old until he starting playing varsity ball as a freshman in high school. Nels remembers his Josh getting bored when not enough players were slipping on the floor, because he wanted to mop up the wet spots.
“It’s going to be fun, all the memories of being there, and finally going back and getting to play in [the tournament],” Hawkinson said here at Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Media Day on Friday.
For Nels, who was also at media day in San Francisco, it's going to be a thrill to watch his son play at his tournament.
"I never thought in my wildest imagination when I started it or when he was in high school that he would ever be on a team that would play in that event. It's still kind of a dream. I still come to Beasley and go wow, he's actually in a uniform. He actually starts, and he's actually pretty good," Nels said. "It's sort of the same thing with the Paradise Jam – I feel the same way. Until I actually see him on the floor in a uniform... I'll be like wow."
Of course, Nels made sure Josh was featured on the promotional poster.
The Cougars, who open the season at home against Montana State on Nov. 11 on Pac-12 Networks.