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Coleman Hawkins withdrawing from NBA Draft

May 29—CHAMPAIGN — Coleman Hawkins took as much time as he could to make his NBA draft decision. Nearly all the time he had even though it wasn't as much as he'd like.

The end result? The former Illinois forward is withdrawing from the draft to play one final season of college basketball not in Champaign, The Athletic's Sham Charania reported.

It's a decision made Wednesday night ahead of the NCAA-mandated deadline instead of the NBA's early entry withdrawal date of June 16, which basically just exists now for international players.

It's why Hawkins tweeted "#fixthedeadline" earlier Wednesday. The Sacramento, Calif., native, who had recent workouts with the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors, discussed the NCAA's withdrawal deadline in early May on the Field of 68 podcast.

"I will say that deadline does suck because you try to pile in as much information, and there's still a lot that happens after that deadline," Hawkins told Jeff Goodman. "That deadline sucks to work with."

Now that Hawkins has withdrawn from the 2024 NBA draft, though, the question becomes where he'll play his fifth and final season of college basketball.

The versatile forward is coming off the best season of his career at Illinois, averaging 12.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists while shooting 45 percent overall and a career-best (by far) 37 percent from three-point range.

Despite adding nine newcomers for the 2024-25 season, Illinois still has two open scholarships remaining. Hawkins won't be filling one, though.

"They've got a whole new roster coming in," Hawkins said earlier this month in Chicago at the NBA draft combine. "I don't think it would be fair for me to come back in that place with all those guys expecting me not to be there. I've done four years at Illinois. I'm now an Illinois grad. I've put my heart and soul into Illinois the last four years. It would be cool to go back one more year, 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."

Hawkins should have several suitors in the transfer portal now that he's opted to return to college basketball. He checks in as the second-highest ranked available transfer behind former Miami guard Wooga Poplar, per 247Sports.

North Carolina and Arkansas fans are among the groups that have made their desires clear on social media. They want Hawkins.

"I've told some schools straight off the bat I don't see myself going there," Hawkins said earlier this month in Chicago. "People have reached out, and I've made it very clear to them. I would never play in the Big Ten again. I wouldn't play in the Big East. I'd go somewhere with a football team where I could enjoy a football game."