Kansas State lands Illinois transfer Coleman Hawkins, reportedly on a record NIL deal

Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports

Jerome Tang added the 13th and final piece to Kansas State’s basketball roster on Friday, and he did it with a bang.

Coleman Hawkins, a 6-foot-10 senior forward who averaged 12.1 points and 6.1 rebounds for Illinois last season, has announced his intentions to finish his college basketball career at K-State.

That comes as excellent news for the Wildcats, who were hoping to add one more talented player before the first day of summer arrives later this month. They couldn’t have landed anyone better than Hawkins. Some experts tabbed him as the best remaining player in the transfer portal.

Tang convinced Hawkins to trade in the orange he used to wear at Illinois for purple at K-State in quick fashion. The Wildcats began recruiting Hawkins heavily after he withdrew his name from the NBA Draft and had him on campus for an official visit earlier this week. Hawkins also received interest from Louisville, LSU and SMU.

He ended up picking K-State, at least in part, because of a massive NIL deal that the Wildcats lined up for him. It could even be record-setting for college basketball. Shams Charania, of The Athletic and Stadium, reported on Friday that Hawkins will receive $2 million while he is in Manhattan.

That would rival the $2 million NIL deal that Utah State transfer Great Osobor reportedly accepted when he committed to Washington.

When Arkansas tried to lure away Tang earlier this spring, K-State promised to increase its NIL funds if he agreed to remain in Manhattan. The Wildcats have apparently followed through.

Regardless, Hawkins figures to be a major addition for the K-State basketball team. 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.

With Hawkins on board, college basketball statistician Bart Torvik projects K-State to rank No. 36 nationally and No. 7 in the Big 12 heading into the 2024-25 season. Both of those numbers are up significantly from where the Wildcats ranked without him, No. 54 nationally and No. 10 in the Big 12.

But there could be even more hidden potential in the K-State roster. It will be interesting to see if Tang can tap into it next season.

It will no doubt be exciting for him to focus on basketball again after a busy offseason.

The Wildcats 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 reloaded.

The newcomers are: Villanova guard Brendan Hausen, Michigan guard Dug McDaniel, Illinois-Chicago guard CJ Jones, Cal-State Fullerton guard Max Jones, Samford forward Achor Achor, Fall, Kentucky forward Ugonna Onyenso, junior-college transfer Chimobi Ikegwuruka, high school recruit David Castillo and Hawkins.

College basketball expert Evan Miya ranks K-State’s incoming transfer class among the top 5 in the nation.