Illinois might have finally have its much-needed wing.
Three-star forward Coleman Hawkins officially signed with the Illini on Saturday.
The 6-foot-10, 195-pound Hawkins hails from Antelope, California, and plays for Prolific Prep. Per 247, the state’s 23rd-best recruit visited Rutgers and San Diego State before settling on being the wing of Illinois’ future.
From our commitment brief on Hawkins:
It’s easy to see why he has generated so much interest from power programs. Hawkins is long, lean, and can run the floor like a guard while attacking the rim like a big. His body resembles that of Kevin Durant — while he doesn’t have the same offensive profile, he can spread the floor and create chaos for opposing defenses.
Hawkins’ combination of length, versatility, and ballhandling skills make him a natural fit for Brad Underwood’s desired style of play. The Illini will need another impact player next season with the likely departure of Ayo Dosunmu and the possible departure of center Kofi Cockburn.
From 247, Hawkins said: “They don’t have a player like me. I’m 6-foot-10, can stretch the floor and make plays. They said they need a player like me to make plays and stretch out the defense.”
He’s not wrong. Watching this season’s first three games, having another big — and one that can shoot a bit — will be critical for the team’s success in 2020-21 and beyond. Even if the playing time isn’t there behind a junior Giorgi and sophomore Kofi next season, there will be opportunity down the road for him to be that stretch-4.
Hawkins joins Jacob Grandison and Austin Hutcherson (redshirt-transfers) and Andre Curbelo in the Illini’s 2020 class. There’s still an opening for the 15th commitment from Adam Miller (announcing Nov. 21) to join the team and have a scholarship spot open, assuming one player enters the NBA Draft or transfers away.