K-State basketball gets commitment from Illinois transfer Coleman Hawkins

The Kansas State Wildcats finished off their offseason rebuild Friday by landing one of the best players in the transfer portal, former Illinois Fighting Illini forward Coleman Hawkins.

After spending four years with the Illini, he will have one remaining year of eligibility remaining, his free “Covid season.”

Hawkins is eighth player coach Jerome Tang and K-State have added via the transfer portal this offseason.

An All-Big Ten honorable mention in 2023-24, the 6-foot-10 Hawkins set multiple career highs last season, including in points per game with 12.1 a night while shooting 45.1% from the floor and 36.9% from three-point range (both of which were also career bests). He tacked on 6.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game as a senior while blocking more than a shot a game. Hawkins also started every game for Illinois over the last two seasons, helping former Wildcat Brad Underwood and the Illini win the Big Ten tournament and reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament.

Hawkins is considered one of the best players available in the transfer portal this year by multiple outlets. The Athletic ranked him as the portal’s fifth-best player, while 247Sports ranks him 21st and EvanMiya.com has the newest member of the K-State roster ranked second overall.

Entering the NBA draft was Hawkins’ original plan for this offseason, but he also entered the portal shortly after announcing his draft intentions in order to “protect” himself.

“With the recent NCAA rule change regarding grad transfers, and the May 1 deadline approaching, entering the portal gives me the best chance to protect myself in those instances and maximize my opportunities as I go through the pre-draft process,” Hawkins said in a since-deleted post on Twitter/X.

This addition also reportedly comes with a historic NIL agreement. According to both Matt Norlander of CBS Sports and Shams Charania of The Athletic, Hawkins has agreed to a deal in the neighborhood of $2 million with a K-State collective. Neither the program, player nor anyone affiliated with Hawkins have confirmed that amount.

K-State has now added three big men, standing 6-foot-9 or taller, in the last month via the transfer portal. That trio also includes former Kentucky Wildcats forward Ugonna Onyenso last week and former Samford Bulldogs forward Achor Achor back in May.

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