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Coleman Hawkins is the missing piece of the puzzle for North Carolina

One of the best players remaining in the transfer portal is Coleman Hawkins from Illinois. The All-Big 10 big man has also gone through the draft process and attended the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago last week.

Should Hawkins decide to return to school for his fifth season, Hubert Davis' North Carolina Tar Heels are the perfect choice.

In short, UNC has a huge hole in the frontcourt right now. With Armando Bacot gone, they haven't found a replacement yet. But that doesn't mean they didn't try, as they missed out on a lot of big-name transfer targets.

Carolina missed at least three primary front-court players who, despite feeling like they were in a good position, chose to play elsewhere. That list includes Kentucky's Adou Thiero and Tennessee's Jonas Aidoo, who will take their talents to Fayetteville to play for John Calipari, as well as Rutgers' Cliff Omoruyi, who is headed to Alabama.

Hubert Davis' pursuit of both centers and a four-man like Thiero shows me that UNC wants a player who can play both four-man and five-man. Coleman Hawkins is perfect for such a role.

Hawkins played five at Illinois and was quite successful. With his height of 1.80 m and a weight of 100 kg, he can defend and rebound well enough to stay with the fives. However, I believe he will be successful not only in college, but also in the NBA, in the foursome.

He is athletic, has good instincts and can shoot extremely well for someone of his stature. Hawkins managed to shoot nearly 37% from three on 4.6 attempts per game in 2023.

UNC has elite guards. All-American RJ Davis returns to school, as does true pass-first point guard Elliot Cadeau. They also bring in five-star freshman Ian Jackson. In addition, Cade Tyson is transferring from Belmont as a 6-foot-2 sniper. While Tyson could play the four in some lineups, I prefer him to play the three, especially when Coleman Hawkins plays the four.

Hawkins fits like a glove with a point guard who can play pick and roll and find the open man, Cadeau, an accurate three-pointer, Tyson, and an elite overall scorer, Davis. Not to mention, he brings a sharpness that a championship team really needs.

I still believe strongly in UNC whether they sign Hawkins or not. In my top 25, I have them ranked No. 2 in the country behind Kansas. If Hubert Davis can fill the one big hole on his roster with a player like Coleman Hawkins, they will take that top spot and be my favorite to win the national title in 2025.

Coleman Hawkins is truly the missing piece for a Tar Heel title.

Anna Harden

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