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Illinois Basketball Forward Solidifying NBA Draft Stock



Illinois Basketball Forward Solidifying NBA Draft Stock
Jan 18, 2024; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Coleman Hawkins (33) reacts in the first half against the Michigan Wolverines at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Basketball Forward Solidifying NBA Draft Stock

Coleman Hawkins just had his best game in an Illinois Basketball uniform. The senior forward put up an impressive 21 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 6 steals. This performance propelled Illinois Basketball to an 88-73 win over the Michigan Wolverines. Brad Underwood has never lost to Michigan since Juwan Howard arrived. This is a pleasant change of space after John Beilein always seemed to dominate the series.

Since returning from a knee injury, Coleman Hawkins has continued strong play on both sides of the ball. His recent play is only solidifying his intriguing NBA draft stock.


Coleman has improved every asset of his game. He has become a much more consistent and efficient player. Hawkins is currently shooting 37.3% from three-point land. This is a huge improvement from the 28-29 percent he shot the previous two years. He has made a lot better decisions on the court and continues to prove that he can guard every position on the floor. Illinois Basketball is a completely different team without Coleman, and the Sacramento native is confirming his status as one of the best players in the conference.

Hawkins has so much versatility to his game and an NBA wingspan. He should find his way onto an NBA roster in the future.


Player comps are hard. However, think of all of the versatile five men who can switch on defense. Players like Nic Claxton come to mind. Hawkins also has shown strong perimeter skills with his shooting and passing. Many brought up Michigan’s DJ Wilson when Hawkins first committed to Illinois. However, Mo Wagner has that same edge, skill, and athleticism that Coleman is showing at a high level.

Whether Terrence Shannon Jr returns or not, Illinois Basketball has a sure-fire NBA prospect on their team in Coleman Hawkins.

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Alex is the Owner of, your go-to source for in depth coverage of the Illinois Fighting Illini. Alex is also the lead content creator and lead editor of all articles on Armchair Illini. He has had articles featured in top media publications like Bleacher Report, YardBarker, Verbal Commits, CBS Sports and more.