No. 4 Forward
Starter: Coleman Hawkins (SR)
Coleman Hawkins had his name entered into the 2023 NBA Draft but would eventually pull it out late in the game. His return to Champaign is huge for the Illini, as he is poised for another big year. That is why I have Hawkins starting at the No. 4 spot for the Orange and Blue.
Last season, Hawkins averaged 9.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 blocks, and 1.1 steals per game. He could do everything on the court. The fact he is nearly 7-foot tall and can do everything makes him an intriguing prospect at the next level. I think Hawkins has a chance to have a legendary year. If he can get his three-point shooting near 35%, then the college basketball world better watch out.
Backup: Quincy Guerrier (5th YR)
There is just so much talent on the Illinois basketball team. The fact we have someone like Quincy Guerrier coming in, and likely not starting, is mind-blowing.
Guerrier, a two-time Illinois recruiting target, finally found his way to Champaign. He transferred in from Oregon where he averaged 9.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game last season. Guerrier also hit 34.7% from three-point range. I think Guerrier comes in and gives the program 15-20 minutes per game. This kid is super athletic and can be a nightmare for opposing teams. What an asset to have in the second unit.