Athlete of the week

by Beacon Staff • February 8, 2006

On the court, Dawkins is a fierce competitor who will do anything to win.,Will Dawkins is having a standout sophomore season on the men's basketball team, averaging 18.4 points and 4.7 assists per game. His play has helped the Lions to an 8-4 conference record.

On the court, Dawkins is a fierce competitor who will do anything to win. Off the court, he says he is a "family man at heart" who comes from "a good Christian background."

He even helped raise his little sister..

"My parents divorced when I was eight, and I went back and forth living at my mom's during the week and my dad's during the weekend," Dawkins said in a recent interview.

At the same time, his younger sister Vanessa was born.

"I was the most dominant male figure in her life since her father wasn't around," he said. "I care a lot about my sister. She's my heart and my number one fan at my games."

Family is clearly very important to Dawkins.

When asked who his biggest influence is, he responded, "My parents. My mom and dad brought me to every single one of my games. My mom is a teacher, so she made me focus academically, while my dad was an athlete, so he focused on athletics."

Dawkins said at least one of his parents is present at every game he plays for Emerson.

Another important piece of his life is spirituality. Dawkins said his strong Catholic faith began when he was a child.

"When I was younger, my grandma forced me and my cousins to be in the church. As I got older, and she got sick, my other grandma on my mother's side picked up my spirituality, and I started to go to church with her," Dawkins said.

He kept going to church by himself and later encouraged his mother to join him. Dawkins can often be seen with a gold cross hanging from his neck.

Then there is basketball.

"I have an intense passion for basketball," Dawkins said. "My will to win is so high. I hate losing."

This passion began as soon as he could stand.

"I've been playing basketball since I was three," he said. "Competitive basketball starts at five but my parents knew the coach so I started at three."

Dawkins' early start helped turn him into the player he is today.

In his senior year of high school, Dawkins' team won the Division I Massachusetts State Championship. He won State Tournament MVP and was also chosen as First Team All Western Massachusetts Player of the Year.

Hailing from High School of Commerce in Springfield, Mass., where basketball was a main focus, Emerson has been a bit of a transition for Dawkins.

"It's really tough coming to Emerson as an athlete. My crowds were five times bigger in high school than last year," he said. "Every time I say I play on the basketball team in class people say 'we have a basketball team?' or 'why are they building the gym?'"

Dawkins said those types of comments from fellow students "upset [the basketball team] but makes us work harder."

He also said the lack of appreciation Emerson sports receive from fellow students "forced our teammates to become a lot closer because not many people have the same interests as us."

In his freshmen year, the Lions lost to Norwich University in the GNAC Finals.

"That game really hurt me personally," Dawkins said. "It was one of the worst games I played at Emerson, and I felt I let my team down."

Dawkins is not going to let the past bother him as he is "focused on winning the 2006 GNAC" this season.

When all is said and done at Emerson, Dawkins said he would like to be remembered "as a leader, someone who gave his all during practice and games ." He would also like to "be the person who led the Emerson Lions to the NCAA Division III National Tournament."

He then added, "We will do it this year."