‘I knew I’m a really good shooter. That’s what I do. That’s why they drafted me.’

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NBA rookies and veterans participated in a Call of Duty competition at the Call of Duty War Room suite to see who was the most talented in a two-minute drill. Over the course of two days, about 100 NBA players participated with Jaylin Williams emerging as the champion with a leading score of 59 taking home a $10,000 prize and a championship belt.

One of those players was Jordan Hawkins from UConn, who was recently drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans. The sharpshooter took a break from the game and sat down with HoopsHype to talk about his shooting, his collegiate career, his new teammates, and more.

How are you with Call of Duty? Did you play a lot during the pandemic?

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Jordan Hawkins: Growing up probably not the best player but I find out they’re playing. I like my zombies.

Absolutely, I was playing all day. My favorite weapon is the MP5. I used to be really good, then everything started going back to normal, and I got busy, but I was playing Warzone every day (during the pandemic).

Who were your favorite shooters to watch while growing up?

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

JH: Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, guys like that.

I wasn’t a big Warriors fan, just a big Steph Curry fan.

Do you try to emulate any shooters?

JH: I mean, the way Steph Curry was dropping the ball is definitely something I tried to do. He just goes all over the place. I mean, definitely, he’s on my game.

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As a shooter and coming from UConn, you hear the talk comparing your shooting to Ray Allen? How much of that have you heard over the years, and was he someone you looked at?

Getty Images

Getty Images

JH: I actually got a chance to meet Ray [Allen]. He’s a great shooter, so he’s been helping me a lot. I’ve definitely watched him when he was at UConn more. He was already elite, elite. He’s just really good, he was more than just a shooter.

He gave me great advice as a shooter. How to get open, getting open is a skill. The NBA is a lot more physical so he’s been telling me how to deal with the physicality.

Confidence plays a huge factor in being a prolific shooter. How have you got in that mindset with confidence?

JH: I just think as a shooter you just gotta be [confident]. That’s a given. That just comes with it. Just having that confidence in your shot as long as you stay focused, the confidence will be there.

What changed from your freshman to sophomore year that helped you take your game to the next level?

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

JH: Had the ball in my hands a lot more. It’s just something I had to do, to step up. Coach [Dan Hurley] made it really clear on what I had to do to win and I took that as a challenge.

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How did you get over the mental hurdle (two concussions freshman year) to accomplish what you did in your sophomore year?

JH: It always sucks to get hit with an injury but I kept my head up, and wasn’t really down on myself. I mean, things happen. I was just gonna get ready for the next season.

Over the past couple seasons, there has been a long line of UConn guys going into the G League, NBA, etcetera? How has Dan Hurley and his staff been so successful in getting guys ready for the pro level?

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

JH: He pushes you and a lot of people can’t take so if you go there, you got to be strong. So he definitely pushed me. He expected so much out of me both on the physical and mental level.

How much more do you like the spacing in the NBA compared to college?

JH: Yeah, but I’d like to show people that I’m more than just a shooter, especially with the spacing, I can put the ball on the floor. So, I think I have more opportunities to do that as well, but the spacing definitely helps.

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What aspects of your game do you need to improve on?

Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Sarah Stier/Getty Images

JH: I want to be a playmaker. I think being a playmaker and becoming a combo guard can be a big thing for me as well.

When you were drafted, Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon said you were the best shooter in the draft? Does that do anything for your confidence, or you already knew that?

JH: I kinda knew that. I kind of told him that. I knew I’m a really good shooter. That’s what I do. That’s why they drafted me. I’m so confident in it. Continue working on it, gonna be better. Just working on my body, getting my NBA body ready to play this grown man [league] is really different. Getting the strength there, it will come as my body grows.

What was your ‘welcome to the NBA’ moment?

Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

JH: I think when I first stepped into New Orleans, and I seen the locker room I’ve seen Zion’s [Williamson] locker, BI’s [Brandon Ingram] locker. That was pretty dope.

How do you see your game fitting alongside Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram?

JH: I think it’d be great. I give them a whole bunch of space. My shooting gravity and they want to help open it up. I got open shots. So it’s, it works in both ways.

Story originally appeared on HoopsHype

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