Louisville courting Illinois basketball transfer portal big man

There are still some stragglers out there in the transfer portal, and an Illinois basketball transfer is eyeing Louisville for a visit
Nebraska v Illinois
Nebraska v Illinois / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

An Illinois basketball transfer portal big man is eyeing a team that had one of the worst records among power-five programs last season.

When Coleman Hawkins announced that he was returning to the college game but not returning to the Illini, it hurt but I wasn’t surprised. At this point in the proceedings, I am curious where he will end up playing next season.

Hawkins coming back to college was a wise financial move. Instead of being drafted somewhere in the second round of the 2024 NBA Draft and making south of $1 million, Hawkins is back in college and having college programs pony up the dough.

There are a few teams who have been rumored to have a chance at Hawkins. On Wednesday, Joe Tipton of On3.com reported that Hawkins is set to take a visit to Louisville this weekend.

Coleman Hawkins picking the Louisville Cardinals out of the transfer portal would give the frontcourt help they need in the quick rebuild

On paper, it would be an interesting decision for Hawkins to pick Louisville. The last two seasons rank in the top 10 among worst seasons in program history.

I don’t believe that will matter on two fronts, though. The first is money. It won’t be hard to go to a program if they back up the Brinks truck. With not much going on in regard to professional sports in Kentucky, Louisville probably has some boosters who are ready to dump money into the program.

The second is the rebuild is going to happen quicker than most expect. Sure, Louisville has had a total of 12 wins in the past two seasons, but they have essentially gutted their entire roster. Without Hawkins, Louisville has 12 incoming transfer portal players and a freshman enrolled in 2024.

I am not sure how much of a timeshare Hawkins would be in if he picked Louisville, though. Five out of the 12 transfer portal additions are at least 6-foot-10. I obviously believe Hawkins would start, but I don’t know how many minutes he would actually receive. My guess is that he is around 20 minutes per game, which I imagine wouldn’t help his draft stock.

Hawkins is going to get his money one way or the other, but I want to see this kid personally succeed on the court. I am not sure if Louisville is the right spot. There are a lot of players who need the ball in the frontcourt.

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