Brad Underwood had some high praise for one of his players following the win in the season opener against Eastern Illinois. He even went as far to call him one of the best players in the league.

Coleman Hawkins has been with the Illinois basketball program since 2020 and has played in 59 career games. Underwood talked about how important Hawkins is to Illinois, calling him one of the best players in the league.

“I’m going to wake up every day knowing Coleman Hawkins is one of the best players in this league,” said Underwood.

Hawkins finished with the second-most points on the team in the season opener with 23. Hawkins secured a double-double with 12 rebounds, and also had 3 assists.

It’s only just one game so far, but Hawkins has already surpassed his career points average from his first two years. Hawkins averaged 1.4 points per game in 2020 and 5.9 points per game last season

Hawkins if off to good start this season. Can he stay consistent?