Illinois star Coleman Hawkins withdraws from 2024 NBA draft: Report

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament East Regional-Connecticut vs Illinois
Coleman Hawkins playing against the Connecticut Huskies in the 2024 NCAA tournament

In a surprising turn of events, Coleman Hawkins, a former Illinois Fighting Illini forward, has decided to withdraw from the 2024 NBA Draft as he plans to switch to a new collegiate program.

With the NBA draft looming, numerous college basketball players are weighing their options between staying ready for the draft or joining the NCAA transfer portal. As reported by The Athletic's Shams Charania, Hawkins has made his decision not to partake in this year's draft.

"Illinois' Coleman Hawkins is withdrawing from the 2024 NBA Draft and will transfer to a new program," Charania tweeted. "Hawkins is expected to be among the highest-paid NIL college basketball players and is using final year of eligibility for development."

Hawkins, 22, initially seemed determined to pursue a career in the NBA as he took part in the draft combine held in Chicago. Although he was eager to join the NBA, he was not expected to be selected in the draft.

As of May 30, ESPN listed Coleman Hawkins as the 79th prospect in the NBA Draft, while CBS Sports placed him at 73rd, and The Athletic ranked him at 87th in the draft class.

Even though Hawkins performed well at the draft combine, there was no assurance of securing a guaranteed NBA contract, which possibly contributed to his decision to withdraw.

Coleman Hawkins will be one of the top players in the transfer portal

After Coleman Hawkins pulled out of the NBA draft, the youngster returned to the NCAA transfer portal in search of a new college team for the 2024-25 season.

Hawkins spoke about his future during the draft combine saying:

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

Born in Sacramento, California, the 6-foot-8 forward attended Antelope High before joining the Illini in 2020. The 2023-24 season is by far the best campaign Hawkins had in Illinois's orange and blue jersey. In 35 games, he tallied 12.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists with 1.5 steals per game.

Interestingly, Coleman also announced his entry for the 2023 NBA draft while maintaining his eligibility, but later pulled out of the draft and decided to continue playing for Illinois for his final year.

Hawkins was named the AP's All-Big Ten second team and received Third Team All-Big Ten recognition from the media in 2024. He also holds the distinction as the only player ever in Illinois history to achieve over 900 points, 500 rebounds, 200 assists, 100 steals, and 100 blocks.

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

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