Good Morning, Illini Nation: NBA draft combine update

May 14—Coleman Hawkins is going to max out his opportunity at the 2024 NBA Draft combine. Strength and agility testing and shooting drills were on the docket Monday at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. Today's slate? Media availabilities and 5-on-5 scrimmages.

Both Hawkins and Terrence Shannon Jr. are slated to be available to the media. It would be a first for Shannon since Braggin' Rights, as he was not made available the rest of the season, per advice of legal counsel, following his late December arrest on a rape charge. Shannon's trial is scheduled for June 10-13, which means it would end just inside two weeks before the 2024 NBA Draft (June 26-27 in New York).

Shannon is not currently scheduled to play 5-on-5, which is optional. The rest of the combine testing is now a requirement per the latest collective bargaining agreement.

Hawkins will play 5-on-5, and the former Illinois forward is on an interesting team. He'll run with guards KJ Simpson (Colorado), Cam Spencer (UConn) and Reece Beekman (Virginia), wings Jaylen Wells (Washington State), Justin Edwards (Kentucky), Nikola Djurisic (KK Mega) and Jamir Watkins (Florida State) and bigs Ulrich Chomche (NBA Academy Africa), Jonathan Mogbo (San Francisco) and Isaac Jones (Washington State).

The most interesting notion about that roster? Illinois coach Brad Underwood might want Hawkins to do his old team a favor with a little recruiting. While Hawkins can return to college basketball, his focus is on the draft. He's also entered the transfer portal and has seemed to indicate several times he's played his last game for the Illini.

Illinois is looking to fill one more scholarship — preferably a wing scorer. Hawkins will play with two guys that fit that bill in Watkins and Wells. Maybe he could put in a good word on the Illini if either of those guys withdraws from the draft.