The Kansas State Wildcats welcome Illinois transfer Coleman Hawkins on a recruiting visit

An exciting option has arisen for Jerome Tang as he works to complete the Kansas State men's basketball roster.

Coleman Hawkins, a 6-foot-10 senior forward who averaged 12.1 points and 6.1 rebounds for Illinois last season, plans to come to Manhattan this weekend as part of a recruiting trip, according to a report by CBS Sportswriter Cameron Salerno.

This is a welcome surprise for the Wildcats, as Hawkins was originally scheduled to visit Louisville this weekend. If he was still interested in other schools, he would have wanted to try out K-State and SMU later. But his focus has shifted.

Hawkins is one of the top players remaining in the NCAA transfer portal and would be a huge addition to the K-State basketball team if they could get him. The versatile big man helped Illinois reach the Elite Eight last season. His biggest highlights included a 30-point game against Iowa and several other games in which he played a role as both a scorer and a rebounder.

K-State still has one scholarship available after Tang signed Kentucky transfer Ugonna Onyenso last week.

The Wildcats have options, but no one (at least on paper) would make more of a splash on the roster than Hawkins, who recently decided to withdraw from the NBA Draft after testing the professional terrain.

College basketball statistician Bart Torvik predicts K-State will be a much stronger team next season with Hawkins. He currently sees the Wildcats ranked 54th nationally and 10th in the Big 12. If the Wildcats get Hawkins, those numbers would jump to 36th and 7th, respectively.

It's been a busy offseason for Tang and the Wildcats, who lost 10 scholarship players from last year's roster, leaving them with only David N'Guessan, Macaleab Rich and Taj Manning as returnees.

Tang has since added seven new players, including Villanova guard Brendan Hausen, Michigan guard Dug McDaniel, Illinois-Chicago guard CJ Jones, Cal State Fullerton guard Max Jones, Ikegwuruka, Samford forward Achor Achor, Fall and Onyenso.

College basketball expert Evan Miya ranks K-State's new transfer class among the top 25 in the country. This group will complement K-State's only new high school recruit, David Castillo.

There is still one spot available. But that might not be the case for much longer.

Anna Harden

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