Report: Illinois Transfer Coleman Hawkins to Visit Louisville

The former Illini big man officially withdrew from the NBA Draft process last week.
Mar 28, 2024; Boston, MA, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Coleman Hawkins (33) reacts
Mar 28, 2024; Boston, MA, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Coleman Hawkins (33) reacts / Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - It appears that the Louisville men's basketball program is more than just gauging interest in Coleman Hawkins potentially joining the Cardinals.

The former Illinois forward/center is scheduled to visit Louisville this upcoming weekend, according to On3's Joe Tipton.

Early last week, Louisville formally announced the addition of 13 newcomers, leading many to believe that - with no more open scholarships - the roster for year one under new head coach Pat Kelsey had been finalized.

Then last Thursday, CardChronicle's Mike Rutherford reported on his daily radio show,The Mike Rutherford Show, that the Cards were "looking to at least make an attempt to be involved" with Hawkins.

Hawkins originally declared for the 2024 NBA Draft back on Apr. 23 after four years at Illinois. But on the final day of the spring transfer window one week later, Hawkins said that he would also be entering the portal to “protect myself in case of injury or any other unforeseen circumstances.”

CBS Sports' Matt Norlander then reported last month on the Eye On College Basketball podcast that four schools - including Louisville - were at the forefront of potentially landing Hawkins should he withdraw from the NBA Draft process. Hawkins officially withdrew last Wednesday, which was the deadline to do so.

Louisville might have already filled all 13 scholarships, but there are a couple ways that they could still bring on Hawkins. Either Aly Khalifa or Kobe Rodgers - both of whom are redshirting the 2024-25 season to rehab respective injuries - could walk-on for the year, or Hawkins himself could walk-on and have his tuition reimbursed through NIL. Last week it was reported that Hawkins could make "upwards of $2 million" in NIL.

Landing the 6-foot-10, 200-pound big man would be a huge boost to an already talented roster. He earned Third-Team All-Big Ten honors this past season, averaging 12.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks in 35 starts with the Fighting Illini. He also shot 45.1 percent from the field and 36.9 percent on three-point attempts.

After struggling as a freshman, the Sacramento, Calif. native went on to be a starter for Illinois over the next three seasons. In 126 games and 82 starts for the Illini, Hawkins has totaled 979 points, 581 rebounds, 256 assists, 115 steals and 102 blocks.

Not long after the end of Louisville's disastrous 2023-24 campaign, one which resulted in the firing of second-year head coach Kenny Payne, the Cardinals' roster began to flip. All 12 of Louisville's scholarship players entered the portal, with only walk-on guard Aidan McCool in line to return.

Fortunately, Kelsey has done a fantastic job of roster construction since his hiring on Mar. 28, bringing in 12 Division I transfers and one high school prospect. Their transfer portal class ranks No. 1 in the nation, according to On3.

(Photo of Coleman Hawkins: Winslow Townson - USA TODAY Sports)

You can follow Louisville Report for future coverage by liking us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram:

Facebook - @LouisvilleReport
Twitter - @UofLReport
Instagram - @louisville_report

You can also follow Deputy Editor Matthew McGavic at @Matt_McGavic on Twitter

Matthew McGavic


McGavic is a 2016 Sport Administration graduate of the University of Louisville, and a native of the Derby City. He has been covering the Cardinals in various capacities since 2017, with a brief stop in Atlanta, Ga. on the Georgia Tech beat. He is also a co-host of the 'From The Pink Seats' podcast on the State of Louisville network. Video gamer, bourbon drinker and dog lover. Find him on Twitter at @Matt_McGavic