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Illinois Basketball Forward Dominates With “No Excuses”

A few days after having played a brutal game vs Penn State on the road, Coleman Hawkins served quite a bit of crow to critics following Saturdays win in Champaign



Illinois Basketball Forward Dominates With a "No Excuses" Mentality
Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Basketball Forward Dominates With “No Excuses”

A few days after having played a brutal game vs Penn State on the road, Coleman Hawkins served quite a helping of crow (including to myself) to critics following Saturday’s win in Champaign. The Forward played the best game of his career for Illinois Basketball vs none other than border battle rival, the Iowa Hawkeyes. Fran McCaffery’s squad has a solid core, that is currently one of the top 20 producing offenses in the nation. However, Coleman and company were too much to handle in a 95-85 win. Which, swung in the Illini’s favor late at home thanks to the big man himself, as well as others who stepped up for the Illini.

Stats vs Iowa

As stated, the Illinois forward had a career-high vs the Hawkeyes, finishing the day with 30 points. Undoubtedly, this helps take a load of pressure off Marcus Domask and Terrance Shannon, who combined for only 20 versus Iowa. Certainly, a slower night for the two crafty Illini scoring guards. However, efficiency was the name of the game here for Hawkins and Illinois Basketball. Coleman remained extremely aggressive vs the Iowa front court, which caused him to be on the bad end of foul trouble for most of the game.  However, the Hawkeyes were only able to attempt 19 shots in the paint. Largely, a testament to the high level of defensive intensity Coleman played with, thought the whistles rained for Hawkins.

Despite fouls becoming an issue at times, Coleman remained extremely aggressive on the offensive end of the floor. Ending the day shooting 11 free throws in total, as a result of getting after Ben Krikke, Owen Freeman, and the Iowa front court.  Coleman was knocking down shots, and looked the part once again of an NBA draft pick. The big man shot 9-11 from the field vs Iowa (81%), and 3-5 from 3-point distance (60%) to send McCaffery’s unit home empty handed.

Colemans Comments

In Illinois Basketball’s post game press conference, Coleman was very real with media on how he handled the criticism. There was plenty  that was handed to him after the Penn State loss, and the Illini forward responded well. “Man, I had to delete some apps, just get off social media, and limit who I talk to.” says Hawkins. “Try not to make any excuses for myself, and just be a man really. Just man up, and on to the next you know? That’s what I did tonight.” says the Illini big man.

When responding to the critics, Coleman has a lot of confidence. “A lot of people said, and would say, whatever they had to say, you know? I’m curious to see how they would have responded if they were me.” Hawkins quoted. “I thought I did a good job of being tough, and going out there tonight, and letting everything go.”

Underwood on Hawkins

During his opening statements to the media, Coach Brad Underwood addressed Hawkins, and the week he has endured since the Penn State diabolical. “I am incredibly proud of Coleman.” says the Illini head coach. “The growth, the maturity, its a great bounce back from the other night. Obviously on a night where Marcus and Terrance didn’t have their best.” says coach Underwood.

When asked again by Jeremy Werner of 247 sports about Coleman’s efforts leading into this game, Underwood had more gleaming remarks for his athletic 5-man. “We had a get real conversation, and I am really happy with him and his response.” quoted Underwood. “He practiced great, and its just the correlation that happens when the mind is right, and the mental approach is right, and it was not at Penn State.” says Brad. The Illini head coach said “He knows that, he also has to understand the impact that has on everybody at this university, every fan, every teammate, and it bigger than just him.” says Underwood. He finished by saying “I couldn’t be happier, Coleman was fantastic today.”


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Kirkland is a go-to source for Illinois athletics news. He is the lead Football analyst at Armchair Illini and has been featured in top media publications like Bleacher Report, Yard Barker, Autograph, Newsbreak, CBS Sports and more.