Former Illinois basketball big man exits transfer portal, lands in crowded frontcourt

A longtime Illinois basketball stalwart has found a new home, but he might have to compete for minutes with so much talent coming in
Morehead State v Illinois
Morehead State v Illinois / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

A former Illinois basketball big man has officially found a new home.

It has been a wild offseason for the Illini, as all but two players departed the program. Some of the departures came from just aging out of the college ranks, but there were quite a few players who left from the transfer portal.

One of the biggest losses for the Orange and Blue via the transfer portal was Coleman Hawkins. He originally entered the NBA Draft and the transfer portal but eventually decided to come back to play one more season of college basketball. Surprisingly, that season didn’t end up being in Champaign.

Hawkins decided to keep his name in the transfer portal, and he went searching for a new home. There were multiple options for the former Illini big man, and on Friday, a destination was decided.

Joe Tipton of reported that Hawkins has officially found a new home, and that home is with the Kansas State Wildcats.

The Wildcats have seen some success in recent years. The end of the Bruce Weber era was a bit brutal, but in 2022-23, the first season under Jerome Tang, Kansas State managed to get to the Elite 8. The Wildcats missed the NCAA tournament last season, but they just added Hawkins who is fresh off an Elite 8 trip in March.

Coleman Hawkins goes from the star of the Illinois basketball frontcourt to likely having to compete for time with Kansas State

Hawkins is a talented player who would have helped any team in the country. With his size at 6-foot-10, and the ability to do everything on the basketball court, he has proved to be a great asset in the college game. He also averaged 12.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and shot 36.9% from three-point range last season.

I imagine Hawkins isn’t picking Kansas State, or any program for that matter, without getting a guaranteed starting spot. With that being said, there is a lot of transfer portal talent coming into the Wildcats’ program, and there are only so many minutes.

Kansas State now has four players who are 6-foot-9 or taller entering the program with experience. All four players are also rated as four-star transfer portal recruits.

It is going to be interesting to see what Tang does with the Kansas State roster in 2024-25. They already had a ton of frontcourt talent coming in, and now they just added one of the best frontcourt players in the transfer portal.

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