Kansas State Wildcats will host Illinois transfer Coleman Hawkins on recruiting visit

An exciting option has emerged for Jerome Tang as he works to round out the Kansas State men’s basketball roster.

Coleman Hawkins, a 6-foot-10 senior forward who averaged 12.1 points and 6.1 rebounds for Illinois last season, plans to visit Manhattan on a recruiting trip this weekend, according to a report from CBS Sports writer Cameron Salerno.

That comes as a welcome surprise for the Wildcats, because Hawkins was originally expected to visit Louisville this weekend. If he was still interested in other schools, he planned to later check out K-State and SMU. But his focus has shifted.

Hawkins is one of the top remaining players in the NCAA transfer portal, and he would be a major addition for the K-State basketball team if it can land him. The versatile big man helped Illinois reach the Elite Eight last season. His top highlights included a 30-point game against Iowa and several other games in which he was a factor as both a scorer and rebounder.

K-State has one available scholarship remaining after Tang landed Kentucky transfer Ugonna Onyenso last week.

The Wildcats have options, but no one (at least on paper) would make a bigger roster splash than Hawkins, who recently decided to withdraw from the NBA Draft after he tested the professional waters.

College basketball statistician Bart Torvik would project K-State to be a much stronger team with Hawkins next season. As of now, he has the Wildcats at No. 54 nationally and No. 10 in the Big 12. If the Wildcats land Hawkins those numbers would jump to No. 36 and No. 7, respectively.

It has been a busy offseason for Tang and the Wildcats. They lost 10 scholarship players from last year’s squad, leaving them with only David N’Guessan, Macaleab Rich and Taj Manning as returning players.

Tang has since added seven incoming transfers. They are: Villanova guard Brendan Hausen, Michigan guard Dug McDaniel, Illinois-Chicago guard CJ Jones, Cal-State Fullerton guard Max Jones, Ikegwuruka, Samford forward Achor Achor, Fall and Onyenso.

College basketball expert Evan Miya ranks K-State’s incoming transfer class among the top 25 in the nation. That group will complement K-State’s lone incoming high school recruit David Castillo.

One spot remains. But that might not be the case for much longer.