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Coleman Hawkins '90-10' on staying in NBA draft

May 14—CHICAGO — Coleman Hawkins' decision to enter the transfer portal ahead of the May 1 deadline was basically procedural.

A backup plan if he doesn't get the kind of feedback he's hoping to hear as he goes through the NBA draft process.

Not that plenty of teams and coaches haven't reached out to express their interest in pulling him back to college basketball for one more season.

"Some people don't know what 'no contact' means, I guess," Hawkins quipped during his media session Tuesday evening at the NBA draft combine. "Some schools I've been honest with them. I haven't wasted their time. I told them that's just not somewhere I would even consider going. ... There's some schools that have reached out with good offers that I could see myself potentially going there."

Hawkins' primary purpose in the next two weeks, though, is to squeeze out whatever information he can about his NBA draft prospects.

The former Illinois forward said it's "90-10" that he'll stay in the draft, but he's also been clear about what he'd like to hear from NBA organizations before the NCAA's May 29 early entry withdrawal deadline.

"I would really love to hear from a team that I can at least get a minimum contract — something guaranteed," Hawkins said. The rookie minimum for next season is projected to be $1.16 million.

"I'd feel really comfortable with that because I honestly really don't want to go back to school," Hawkins continued. "I just feel like I've kind of outgrown college basketball. I'm ready to kind of give my life to basketball. Signing that contract, it becomes real life. It's not college and you can get away with not going hard in practice or taking plays off. You can get mad at me for saying that, but not everybody is going 100 percent like that.

"It would be real-life situations the moment I stay in this draft. I think I'm ready for that. I'm ready for my game to grow. I'm ready for my body to change. I'm ready to just open up to a whole new world of basketball I've ever experienced."

The other option should Hawkins stay in the draft and not get a guaranteed contract would be a two-way deal. That's a level of offer he said has been discussed and his willingness to go down that particular path would depend on how he views this prospects and what team was offering. A two-way is worth half the rookie minimum salary — about $580,000.

"It's not necessarily spending time in the G League because there's guys on guaranteed contracts that spend time in the G League," Hawkins said. "That stuff doesn't bother me. It's more having the comfortability of being on a roster and being paid probably more than what I'd get going back to school.

"I'm not scared to play in the G League at all. Personally, I feel like one year really dedicating my life to basketball, getting my body right and playing against pros I'd be ready to make an impact on an NBA team, for sure."

Odds are Hawkins would earn more than a two-way contract is worth should he return to college basketball for his final (bonus) season of eligibility. It didn't escape his notice that Utah State transfer Great Osobor committed to Washington on Monday with a name, image and likeness deal that will reportedly pay him $2 million.

That a similar deal might be possible for Hawkins hasn't changed his thought process on his stay-or-go decision with the draft.

"I'm not a person who's moved by money," he said. "If I'm being honest with you, to have that label is just an unwanted amount of pressure. As soon as you do something wrong, as soon as anything happens, as soon as you have a bad game, people are going to question that money. Even if I did come back to school, I'd let you guys guess whatever amount I got. I would never share that information."

Hawkins isn't shutting the door to a return to college basketball — although he mostly has for a return to Illinois — but it's not his first choice. After wrapping up the combine, he'll spend the rest of May pursuing his potential place in the draft.

"There's so many more positive things I feel like right now in my career to stay in the NBA and just get better at basketball," Hawkins said. "That's my biggest thing. I just want to get better. ... I haven't done any workouts so far. I'm waiting to work out with teams who feel like they really like me. I'm not going to do 20 workouts before this deadline. I'm going to do a couple with teams that really like me."