Entering his first varsity season, no one knew what to expect from Malik Hawkins — including the Ellison junior himself.

That’s why, when he came to school Monday, Hawkins was more than a little surprised by the attention he was getting.

“I walked in Monday morning and all my teachers were talking about me,” Hawkins said.A talented scoring guard who can hit from anywhere on the court, Hawkins has been a “pleasant surprise” for the Eagles basketball team this season, averaging nearly 20 points per game in providing a solid one-two punch with fellow junior Ojai Black — the lone returning starter from last year.

“What makes him so successful is that (while) he shoots it so well, he can also put the ball on the floor,” Ellison coach Alberto Jones said of Hawkins.

But off the court, the acclaim has been few and far between, at least until this week when teachers and fellow students told him he was up for the KDHpressbox.com Player of the Week.

“A lot of people (said they voted for me),” Hawkins said. “I’d walk down the hallways and it was like, ‘Malik, congratulations, I’m so proud of you.’ I’d walk into class and people told me they were voting for me every hour.”

Averaging 19 points in leading Ellison (8-6) to three wins this weekend in the Pflugerville Tournament, Hawkins received 952 of the 2,539 total votes (37 percent) to win the KDHpressbox.com Player of the Week for Dec. 4-10, beating out runner-up Harker Heights senior guard Shanice Davis (836 votes) by more than 100. Salado senior wing Koby Spears also pulled in 637 votes to finish a wide-open race in third place.

Logging on just once on Tuesday, Hawkins said he actually voted — for Davis, who was named the tournament Most Valuable Player in helping the Lady Knights beat 4A No. 22 Arlington Seguin 55-53 to win the Van Griffith Kia Tournament in Granbury this weekend.

But with wins over Austin Hyde Park, Pflugerville Hendrickson and Round Rock Stony Point, Hawkins is proving himself a valuable asset for a completely revamped Ellison squad.

“He’s a main reason (for our success), and one thing I’m excited about is he’s taken over a leadership role as well,” Jones said. “At first he was just one of those guys that kept quiet, but now he’s one of the vocal guys and one that’s working the hardest.”

In two games Friday, Hawkins tallied 44 total points hitting 11 3-pointers as the Eagles split against Stony Point and Austin Akins.

“Yeah, I was feeling it,” Hawkins said. “Every time I let the ball go, I always think it’s (going to go) in. If you hear me playing, every time I shoot it I say, ‘Money.’”

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