Former K-State Assistant Brad Underwood Praises Coleman Hawkins’ Move to Manhattan


No college basketball coach wants to lose an experienced, 6-foot-10 forward who excels in all aspects of the game. However, Illinois coach Brad Underwood had nothing but positive remarks about Coleman Hawkins transferring to Kansas State.


“I wanted him to go where he felt like he could be a major contributor,” Underwood said.


Easing the transition for Underwood is his personal connection to K-State, where he both played and coached. Manhattan holds a special place in his heart, and he remains loyal to the Wildcats.


“I know a lot of people there,” Underwood said. “The Wildcats are always close to my heart as a former player and coach. I’m happy for him and for them. They’re getting a really good player.”


Indeed, Hawkins averaged 12.1 points and 6.1 rebounds last season, helping Illinois reach the Elite Eight. During his four seasons at Illinois, the Fighting Illini won 96 games and four Big Ten championships.


Hawkins’ contributions extended beyond his on-court performance. He provided value that only a coach can fully appreciate.


“I’ve said it, Coleman is a savant when it comes to basketball,” Underwood said. “He’ll help them with his knowledge and understanding. His ability to manage a scouting report is as good as anybody I’ve had. He’s in a good place.”


This skill will be invaluable in the rugged Big 12, which will feature several Top 10 teams throughout the season.


K-State basketball coach Jerome Tang sees similar qualities in Hawkins’ intangibles.


“He obviously can score, but he impacts winning in a variety of ways,” Tang said. “He is a terrific teammate who is very smart and only makes his teammates better. He plays with joy and passion and has an engaging personality that I know our fans are going to love.”