WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Currently, Connecticut is the favorite to win the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

One of the key players in the Huskies’ deep March Madness run is Gaithersburg native sophomore shooting guard Jordan Hawkins.

Hawkins played his first two years of high school basketball at Gaithersburg high school, before transferring to DeMatha for his final two seasons. He led the Trojans on some deep playoff runs before helping the Stags to a WCAC title in his junior year.

Hawkins’ old high school coach from Gaithersburg told DC News Now that his legacy at the school is very strong.

“He left a great impression on the adults in our building and the younger kids now, the kids I coach now, they look up to him. He’s only two years older than our seniors right now and they look up to him,” current Gaithersburg head coach Jeff Holda, who coached Hawkins said. “He’s come back in the summer to work out with them and they’re in awe of him. You would never know he’s on the verge of superstardom the way he carries himself.”

Hawkins and the Huskies will face Miami at the Final Four in Houston Saturday night.

Hawkins did not participate in practice Friday due to a non-COVID illness the team is describing as a stomach bug. They do not expect Hawkins to miss the game and said he spent Friday resting at the team hotel.

Hawkins has averaged more than 17 points per game and shot more than 50 percent from three in four games in the NCAA tournament.

Hawkins discussed his growth at UConn with reports on Thursday.

“I feel like I had the skill to do what I can do now last year, but my mental wasn’t all the way there with my game, I think that’s the biggest thing that’s changed,” Hawkins said. “I just put so much hard in work, so many reps. Once you do that you just have to be confident in it, just know you’re doing the right thing, sticking to it. I’ve had this confidence since I was in middle school, high school.”