New Jersey basketball fans have a hometown hero to cheer for in the form of Al-Amir Dawes, a talented guard hailing from Newark and representing Seton Hall University. In the 2022-23 season, Dawes made his presence felt both on and off the court. His journey home to New Jersey was marked by impressive accomplishments and a glimpse into the athlete’s mindset during an interview at Big East Media Day.
A Stellar Season
Dawes’s debut season with the Pirates was nothing short of remarkable. He found himself twice named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll, showcasing his consistent excellence. In his first season back in his home state, Dawes made an indelible mark by leading the Pirates in scoring with an impressive average of 12.6 points per game. He also took on the role of the team’s workhorse, spending an average of 31.4 minutes on the court per game. Beyond scoring, Dawes demonstrated his three-point shooting prowess, making 78 three-pointers throughout the season.
Dawes achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first Pirate to lead the team in scoring during his first season since Eugene Harvey in 2006-07. His well-rounded performance extended to free throw shooting, where he maintained an outstanding .827 percent accuracy. He further contributed with 55 assists and 35 steals, cementing his status as an all-around player.
When it came to facing Big East competition, Dawes continued to shine, averaging 13.4 points per game against conference rivals. His 78 made threes tied him for 16th all-time in a single season at Seton Hall, alongside Jeremy Hazell’s 2007-08 record. His proficiency at the free-throw line, ranking 15th all-time in program history for a single season, demonstrated his unwavering commitment to excellence.
Dawes showcased his scoring ability with five 20-point games, becoming the most prolific Pirate newcomer in this regard since Sterling Gibbs in 2013-14. He finished 23rd in the Big East in scoring and ranked fifth in three-point field goals made per game, solidifying his status as a valuable contributor to the team.
Exclusive Interview Insights
At Big East Media Day, JSN had the privilege of engaging Dawes in an insightful interview. Here are some of the questions and his responses:
1. Your transition to Seton Hall has been impressive, leading the team in scoring and making a significant impact in your first season. What aspects of your game or approach have you worked on to bring your team to the next level?
Dawes emphasized his commitment to becoming more of a facilitator. He recognized his scoring ability but also prioritized making his teammates better. He mentioned the importance of focusing on reads, studying film, and assisting his fellow players. This demonstrates his team-first mentality and commitment to elevating Seton Hall’s performance.
2. You’ve had experience at both the ACC level with Clemson and now in the Big East with Seton Hall. How has competing in these different conferences influenced your style of play and development as a player?
Dawes acknowledged the differences between the ACC and the Big East. In the Big East, he encountered a more physical playing style, requiring him to enhance his physicality and strength. He’s invested in not only refining his skills but also building a stronger, more resilient body to meet the demands of the conference.
3. In the off-season, was there anything specific in your game you needed to work on?
Dawes pinpointed his work on getting into the paint and improving his ability to finish through contact. This reveals his determination to adapt and excel in different facets of his game.
Rapid Fire Fun
To add a touch of fun to the interview, it ended with some rapid fire questions, which provided a glimpse into Dawes’s personality beyond the court:
1. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Dawes promptly responded with “Teleport,” a superpower that would undoubtedly come in handy for a basketball player with a busy schedule.
2. Pregame go-to meal?
A slice of pizza is his choice – a classic and comforting meal to fuel up before hitting the court.
3. Who is the best dancer on the team?
Supreme Cook takes the title of the best dancer, adding some entertainment to the Pirates’ locker room.
4. Hidden talent or hobby?
Dawes is exploring music production as a hidden talent and hobby, showcasing his creativity beyond basketball.
5. One word to describe the coach.
His response, “Aggy,” adds a touch of humor and insight into his relationship with the coaching staff.
In sum, Dawes is not only a rising star on the court but also a well-rounded individual with aspirations beyond basketball. His dedication to improving both his game and his team’s performance is evident, making him a player to watch in the seasons to come. Seton Hall fans have every reason to be excited about their talented guard from Newark, New Jersey.