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Kansas State Basketball welcomes Illinois transfer Coleman Hawkins

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Jerome Tang has yet to fill a spot on his Kansas State basketball roster for 2024–25.

He could save the biggest piece of the puzzle for last.

Coleman Hawkins, a 6-foot-1, 225-pound power forward who has spent the past four years at Illinois, will be in Manhattan this weekend after canceling a visit to Louisville, according to CBS Sports reporter Cameron Salerno.

Hawkins, who has one year of eligibility remaining, was Illinois' third-leading scorer with 12.1 points per game and third-leading rebounder with 6.1 rebounds in 2023-24 — and led the Illini in both steals (1.5) and blocks (1.1). He started all 68 games over the past two seasons and averaged 9.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and a team-best 3.0 assists as a junior.

Signing Hawkins, one of the best remaining players in the portal, would be a major coup for Tang, who is entering his third season as Wildcats coach. While the current roster consists of 12 players, only three — forwards David N'Guessan, Taj Manning and Macaleab Rich — are back from a team that went 19-15 overall, 8-10 in the Big 12 and lost in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.

Related: Jacob Pullen is the headliner of the 2024 Kansas State Athletics Hall of Fame

Related: Kansas State Basketball adds Junior College All-American Forward to 2024-25 roster

Tang has added seven transfers from the portal and one from the junior college ranks. They include point guard Dug McDaniel from Michigan, guard CJ Jones from Illinois-Chicago, guard Brendan Hausen from Villanova, guard Max Jones from Cal State Fullerton, 6-11″ forward Baye Fall from Arkansas, versatile 6-9″ forward Achor Achor from Samford, 7-foot forward Ugonna Onyenso from Kentucky and forward Chimobi Ikegwuruka from Ellsworth (Iowa) Community College.

Hawkins is the type of all-around talent Tang has been trying to lure to Manhattan since he arrived two years ago. Not only can he score and defend the basket, but he also made 36.9% (59 of 160) of his three-point attempts last season.

Hawkins is the only player in Illinois history to record at least 900 points, 500 rebounds, 200 assists, 100 blocks and 100 steals in his career.

Arne Green lives in Salina and covers Kansas State University sports for the Gannett Network. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @arnegreen.