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White Sox take Courtney Hawkins with No. 13 pick in MLB draft

Courtney Hawkins from Corpus Christi Texas is batting .437. | SarD. Davis~Getty Images

Courtney Hawkins, from Corpus Christi, Texas, is batting .437. | Sara D. Davis~Getty Images

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Updated: July 7, 2012 8:36AM



General manager Ken Williams cringed after the White Sox drafted power-hitting outfielder Courtney Hawkins of Corpus Christi, Texas, with the 13th selection in the first-year player draft on Monday.

Minutes after the pick was made, the Sox braintrust watched the 6-3, 220- pounder execute a backflip for MLB Network television cameras — shiny black dress shoes and all.

“Sitting in front of the TV with Kenny, [assistant GM] Rick Hahn and [vice president player development] Buddy [Bell], I wasn’t tickled to death,’’ scouting director Doug Laumann said. “I know Kenny, in a fun way, was a little surprised.’’

Which was something he shared with an exuberant Hawkins.

“Mr. Williams said no more backflips,’’ Hawkins said.

The flip did demonstrate the 18-year-old’s athleticism, Laumann allowed. It wasn’t long ago, when Hawkins weighed 270 pounds as a 13-year-old, that such a stunt would not have been possible. But Hawkins’ brother Tim, who plays football for Texas State, promised Courtney he would help him lose weight. By the time Hawkins was a sophomore, he was down to 185.

“I’ve been working my butt off to get where I am now,’’ said Hawkins, the Sox’ first high school first-rounder since pitcher Kris Honel of Providence in 2001.

Also an accomplished pitcher with a low-to-mid-90s fastball, Hawkins is batting .437 with 11 homers, 39 RBI and 17 stolen bases for Carroll High School, which is still playing in Texas’ Class 5A state tournament.

“First and foremost, Courtney is a quality young man who we’ve followed for several years at various showcases, including our own Double Duty Classic,” Laumann said. “He has developed into the type of player we expected. This pick may seem like we are going away from our tendency with a high school player, but this kid has too much potential for us to pass up. We are enormously excited.”

“I see myself as a power guy who can run and hit,’’ said Hawkins, who signed a letter of intent to play at Texas but seems eager to sign. “I’m not just a one-tool guy. I can do it all. I’m excited to play for the White Sox, get into their system and develop into a better player.’’

Playing last summer in the Double Duty Classic at U.S. Cellular Field, a Sox showcase that promotes the advancement of minorities, Hawkins took a liking to the organization.

“The first thing that came to mind after the 12th pick was, ‘Man, I’ve already been to Chicago,’ ’’ Hawkins said. “I know the guys. I like them. When the clock hit zero and the commissioner called my name, I was like, ‘Wow.’

“This is just the beginning. I just started a race and want to get to the finish line.’’

The Sox picked another power-hitting high school player in first baseman Keon Barnum of Tampa, Fla., with the 48th pick in the first compensatory round, their compensation for Mark Buehrle signing with the Miami Marlins.

“We’ve always been directed to take the guys with the highest ceiling and impact,’’ Laumann said. “With those two kids, we felt like the potential to develop in the next wave, to have those two guys in a lineup would be impressive.

‘‘Hawkins is more advanced and polished, but both have potential to be impact players.’’



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