CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Coleman Hawkins is entering his name into the 2023 NBA Draft, while keeping his college eligibility. The Illinois forward announced his intention to explore playing professionally on Tuesday via social media, following his third season of college ball with the Illini.

“I have always dreamed of becoming a professional basketball player,” Hawkins wrote in a Twitter and Instagram post. “Because of all the support and inspiration from the wonderful people here at Illinois, I am going to continue to chase that dream by entering my name into the 2023 NBA Draft, while maintaining my college eligibility. I am extremely blessed to have this opportunity, and I’m excited to see what the future holds!”

Hawkins was third on the Illini in scoring last season, averaging 9.9 points per game. The 6-foot-10 do-it-all forward led the team in rebounding (6.3 per game) and assists (3.0 per game), while ranking second in blocks at 1.2 per game.

Several NBA mock draft projections have Hawkins as a second round pick, including ESPN’s Jonathan Givony at No. 43 to the Los Angeles Lakers, with Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman predicting Hawkins will go 49th overall to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Hawkins has until May 31 to withdraw his name from NBA Draft consideration and return to college. The NBA Draft Combine is Mary 15-21 in Chicago, with the draft set for June 22.