"I think that teams want to see a little bit more maturity": NBA analyst shares his belief on why teams may have passed on Coleman Hawkins

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament East Regional-Illinois vs Iowa State
Coleman Hawkins against Iowa State during a NCAA game

Former Illinois Fighting Illini forward Coleman Hawkins withdrew from the 2024 NBA draft on May 30 because he was not expected to be selected. Most media outlets ranked him as a prospect outside the top 70.

Sam Vecenie, an NBA writer at The Athletic, said that teams are worried that Hawkins is not taking his basketball future seriously enough.

"I think that teams want to see a little bit more maturity, maybe is the right way to put it," Vecenie said.

Vecenie said Hawkins, who played four seasons at Illinois, told teams at last month's draft combine that he wants to transfer to a football school so he could attend football games instead.

"Well, that's not what teams want," Vecenie said. "I enjoy the Coleman Hawkins experience. I want to be very clear about that. I don't know that what I enjoy, personally, for my amusement and clearly for Colman's amusement, because I think he has a blast doing all this, I don't know if it's what teams want for their nonamusement maybe is the way to put it."

Illinois coach Brad Underwood said he understands why Coleman, who Vecenie said made an obscene gesture at Maryland, might be seen as immature, but he chooses to see the good side, which is Coleman's competitive spirit.

"The one thing I'll always remember Coleman for is his competitiveness," Underwood said. "His actions are misguided because some people think he's immature, but it's all based in competitive."

Underwood sat down with Hawkins for a lengthy discussion after a loss to Penn State in February in which he made serious blunders. He called out the immaturity Hawkins, who is 22 years old, showed on the court, something a senior should never do.

Hawkins had his best performance last season, playing 35 games and averaging career highs of 12.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.

The 6-foot-8 forward also entered the NBA draft in 2023 but eventually pulled out and decided to return to Illinois for his senior year.

Coleman Hawkins searching for his new team

Along with removing his name from the draft, Coleman Hawkins had already decided not to return to Illinois for the 2024-25 season. The third-team All-Big 10 selection entered the transfer portal in late April.

"It would be cool to go back one more year," Hawkins said. "But I just don't think it would be the right thing to do — not just for myself, but for the staff and for the people coming in."

While many universities have sent offers to Hawkins, Louisville is leading the pack. Joe Tipton from On3 reported that the ex-Illinois star is scheduled to make a trip to Louisville this weekend.

The Cardinals might just be the right team for him because they are in the Atlantic Coast Conference. During the scouting combine, Hawkins made it clear that he did not want to join another Big Ten college.

"I would never play in the Big Ten again. I wouldn't play in the Big East," Hawkins said. "I would go somewhere with a football team, where I could enjoy a football game."

According to a Card Chronicle story on Wednesday, Louisville has "a hefty pool of NIL money to work with," possibly about $2 million, to lure Coleman Hawkins.

What could Alabama basketball's 2024-25 starting lineup look like? Find out here

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