Men’s basketball player honored with CalHOPE Award for overcoming mental adversity

Pacific men's basketball player wins CalHOPE Award.

From as far back as Lesown Hallums Jr. can recall, his life has been shaped by two enduring facets: basketball and the tumultuous backdrop of a challenging childhood as he watched people close to him struggle with significant life and health challenges.

But through it all, basketball has helped him forge ahead.

“Watching people I loved struggle forced me to grow up and take on more responsibility and carry more burden,” Hallums said. “With the help of friends, teammates, coaches and my girlfriend as well as my love of basketball, I challenge myself every day to get through any obstacles that might arise.”

"He is easily one of the finest young men I’ve met in coaching. Everything about him is what is right with college athletics." - Leonard Perry, head coach

Hallums was honored with the CalHOPE award prior to the Stockton Kings game Friday, Feb. 9 on the court. The award honors student-athletes at California colleges and universities who have overcome the stress, anxiety and mental trauma associated with personal hardships and adversity. In addition to receiving a trophy, $1,000 will be donated in his name to support on-campus mental health services at Pacific.

“Lesown is a natural leader with a heart of gold. He’s a brilliant, humble and classy guy that works hard in basketball and is also a scholar as a student-athlete,” Pacific Athletics Sports Therapist Sonia Bradley said.

He also is excelling on the court.

Hallums began his college basketball career at Mendocino College in the Bay Valley Conference. His freshman season he finished fourth in the league in scoring at 21.2 points per game. Following the cancellation of the 2020-21 season, he returned to the Eagles and increased his average to 25.1 points and 10 rebounds per game.


Pacific men's basketball player Lesown Hallums was recognized at a Stockton Kings game.

Hallums was recognized at a recent Stockton Kings game.

Hallums transferred to South Carolina State last season and averaged 10.6 points. He tallied 13 double-figure scoring games, started 20 times and scored over 20 points three times.

He then transferred to Pacific where he’s started 14 times through 26 games for the Tigers and is averaging 7.2 points with eight double-digit scoring performances. He scored a career-high 25 points in the West Coast Conference opener against San Francisco, the most any student-athlete on the team has scored in a single game this year.

“There are no quotes that could do him justice or give you a clear picture of who this young man is,” said Pacific head coach Leonard Perry. “You simply have to meet him. He is easily one of the finest young men I’ve met in coaching. Everything about him is what is right with college athletics. He is going to be very successful moving forward, and we are lucky to have him here as a student-athlete.”

In the classroom he posted a 3.83 GPA this fall while taking 17 units. He made the Dean’s Honor List for achieving a GPA above 3.5.

Hallums holds the highest GPA on the men’s basketball team and is on pace to graduate in the spring of 2025 with a degree in sociology.

“I am grateful that Lesown chose University of the Pacific for his last year of basketball because there is never a dull moment when he is around,” said Director of Student-Athlete Development Justine Brown-Dacosta. “Lesown embodies true grit, and I cannot wait to see him walk across the stage later this semester in May.”

Hallums and the Tigers have two more home games including his Senior Night against Loyola Marymount on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. in the Alex G. Spanos Center. Pacific will compete in the West Coast Conference Tournament March 7-12 in Las Vegas, Nevada. See the full men's basketball schedule.