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Coleman Hawkins’ True Potential

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Jan 13, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Coleman Hawkins (33) and guard Terrence Shannon Jr. (0) react after a basket during the second half against the Michigan State Spartans at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Coleman Hawkins had a signature game showcasing his true potential

Illinois basketball returned to the winner’s circle with a 69-60 win over the Ohio State Buckeyes. Illinois really broke this one open in the second half after overcoming some early foul trouble and stagnant offense. Brad Underwood’s crew rebounded from a sluggish effort against Indiana with a gritty, high energy affair against the struggling Buckeyes. Terrence Shannon and Jayden Epps lead the charge in the scoring department, however I really wanted to take the time to commend Coleman Hawkins.

Coleman was in his bag tonight.

Look, I will be the first to admit that Coleman Hawkins is the most heavily criticized Illini player on social media. We apologize to his family for our smart-ass tweets about him, but it is all because of his immense potential. That was on full display tonight as Coleman put up a stat line that truly encompasses his skill. Prior to this season, Coleman Hawkins was receiving buzz as a possible NBA prospect. Intermittently through this first half of the season, that has been shown.

When Coleman Hawkins is decisive and keeps the game simple, he puts up stat lines like tonight. 11 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks. This is all while defending Ohio State’s best player, a 6 foot 6 combo guard. Which is why fans occasionally get frustrated when he pump fakes often or shoots a 35 foot 3 point shot 5 seconds into the shot clock. Not because we think he is a bum or that he is a detriment to the team, but because he can be so damn good.

As I mentioned, Hawkins locked down Brice Sensabaugh. The lead guard for the Buckeyes shot 5-13 from the field. Hawkins has two-way potential and NBA length. Though his 3 point shot has struggled, he has shown the catch-and-shoot ability intermittently throughout the season. If skilled players like Isaiah Roby and Mo Wagner can make the league, there is no reason that Coleman  cannot try his hand.

Hawkins also had a triple double earlier this season. Whether he decides to return for a lead role as a senior or try his hand at the NBA, Coleman Hawkins has true potential to make an impact if he can continue this kind of play consistently.

Alex is the Owner of Armchairillini.com, your go-to source for in depth coverage of the Illinois Fighting Illini. Alex is a Resident Physician in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation for Northwestern Medicine and has had articles featured in top media publications like Bleacher Report, YardBarker, Verbal Commits, CBS sports and more.

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