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Illinois State transfer Deontae Hawkins could be exactly what Boston College needs

Hawkins will graduate and transfer to play his final year of college eligibilty on the east coast.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri Valley Conference Tournament-Wichita State Shockers vs Illinois State Redbirds Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Boston College needs an impact player. Or two. Or six.

They got one of them earlier in the offseason when Illinois State transfer Deontae Hawkins committed to the Eagles as a graduate transfer.

This is a perfect addition for Boston College, and it also presents a great opportunity for Hawkins. He will have the chance to compete against elite players in the ACC and he will be on the main stage to improve his draft stock and his potential to play in the NBA.

Hawkins has had a long journey to Boston College, but the senior forward has a chance to shine. He graduated from Dayton Dunbar High School in 2012 and then spent a year at Quakerdale Promise Academy in Iowa. Following his prep year, he committed to Dan Muller and joined Muller’s first recruiting class as Illinois State head coach.

In his first season after sitting out a year, he averaged 7.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, and these numbers only grew. In his final season for Illinois State — one of the most memorable years for the Redbirds in recent memory — he led the way with 14.0 points and 6.5 rebounds. He also led the team in double-doubles with five and scored in double figures in 27 out of 35 games.

His athleticism and play around the basket is what’s most impressive about Hawkins. He uses his height and athleticism to collect rebounds on both ends of the floor.

In terms of offseason improvement, his biggest jump came between his sophomore and junior years, and coaches, players, and the media took note. He earned Second Team All-MVC honors, was named to the MVC Most Improved Team, and earned a spot on the NABC All District Second Team.

For Boston College, he will be an immediate asset on the floor.

Boston College finished the 2016-17 season 10th out of 15 ACC teams in terms of rebounding percentage. Hawkins will help increase that number with his diligence around the basket. Hawkins can also pass and score in transition, and he is confident doing both.

While Boston was averaging 0.2 rebounds per game more than its opponents, rebounding and defense create more offense, and Hawkins will be able to help do just that.

Hawkins will have a chance to make an immediate impact as the Eagles look to replace last year’s graduate transfers, Mo Jeffers and Connar Tava.

Last season, Boston College relied primarily on freshmen and sophomores for most of its scoring. Hawkins will be an experienced hand who averaged double-figures scoring for one of the best mid-major teams in the country.

This was an important, necessary move for Boston College this offseason. Hawkins will bring size, athleticism, scoring, and rebounding to the Eagles. Maybe he can even lead Boston College to more than two wins in the ACC. Just maybe.