By Tim Lima
---- — AMESBURY — Eleven-year-old Aidan Hawes plays basketball with a team first approach — and now this mentality has earned him individual recognition.
Hawes was recently named the recipient of the 2014 Sportsman Award for the Class of 2021 as part of the AAU organization’s Spring Awards Celebration.
“Aidan is not only a skilled player, but is an outstanding teammate,” said Eric Polli, Hawes’ coach and the founder of Elite Basketball. “His strong work ethic is contagious to his teammates — leading by example and making everyone better.”
While athletic talent is a fairly common trait, the ability to recognize the true intention of sport — especially at such a young age — is admirable. When factoring in the level of competition at which these kids are playing and the great lengths and sacrifices they make to better their craft, doing so with a sense of ethical responsibility and leadership is worthy of award.
It is with this mindset — largely practiced by and important to the entire Hawes family — that Elite Basketball was an organization they decided to pursue. In fact, Belen Wieler Hawes, Aidan’s mother, explained via email the decision to partake in a league that required so much dedication, including national travel.
“[We decided to select Elite Basketball because of its] commitment to teaching the fundamentals, player development and exposure, and family focus,” she said. “For Aidan to be one of the student athletes recognized for his work ethic, leadership and outstanding performance, had us beaming with pride and thankful that we found a special basketball family where he can excel, grow and have fun with his teammates and coaches.”
According to the team’s website, “Mass Elite’s mission is to teach the student-athletes in our basketball family not only important basketball skills but also the tools necessary to be a good person. There is so much more in life than basketball — though the sport is a great way to learn valuable life lessons.”
Hawes played on and recently completed his first season with Elite Basketball as a member of the Class of 2021’s National 5th Grade Division II Team. He was a key contributor to helping his team advance to both the Massachusetts State AAU Final Four Championship, where they finished third, and also a bid to the National AAU Championship in Hampton, Va., later this month.