Coleman Hawkins comes to Champaign from Napa, California, where he played for Prolific Prep alongside the nation’s top high school guards in Jalen Green (G League) and Nimari Burnett (Texas Tech). His experience with Prolifc Prep gave Hawkins a lot of national exposure. Hawkins helped Underwood secure a top-20 recruiting class for the 2020-21 season. Hawkins is listed as a 6-foot-10 195-pound power forward, and has been described as a ‘stretch-4’.
What He Did Last Year
Prolific Prep stayed within the top-10 high school teams throughout the nation, finishing the year in the top-5 with a 29-7 record. Hawkins is no stranger at playing on a high-level team nationally, and it’s certainly not a bad experience to have on the roster.
Hawkins produced in major way for Prolific Prep, bringing them another dynamic player alongside the two highly touted guards. Hawkins was ranked the 34th-best PF in the class of 2020 by Rivals.com and the 36th-best PF by 247sports. He was also a top-25 recruit in the state of California last year.
In his senior campaign he averaged 12.4 ppg and 4.8 rpg. Last year Underwood and Co. got the opportunity to see Hawkins play first hand at Champaign Centennial High School. Hawkins put on a show, finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds in a 107-82 victory. Aside from this performance Hawkins had a number of other impressive outings, including a 23-point, 13-rebound double-double against Golden State Prep last March.
What To Expect
Hawkins may not have the same exceptions in this first year as Adam Miller and Andre Curbelo. Despite this, I still expect Illini fans to see some glimpse of Hawkins abilities this coming season. Hawkins is very athletic for his height, and it shows in the way he runs the floor. He has good shot blocking instincts and can really stretch the floor with his three-point shooting ability.
Underwood has commented on Hawkins offensive ability, but the staff is most excited about his length and skills on the defensive end. I could see Hawkins being a nice plug at the 4 spot when the Illini find themselves in foul trouble. Though for Hawkins, his freshman year will likely prioritize development over his production.
Hawkins career as an Illini will likely be a four-year campaign. I’m optimistic within the next four years Hawkins will play a major role for the Illini in the future seasons given he progresses like Underwood and his staff expect him to be able to.