This is the year of revenge for Kansas State basketball. After a subpar season, Jerome Tang and the Wildcats continue to reload in the transfer portal, creating one of the most intriguing new-look teams in college hoops.

The program landed Illinois transfer Coleman Hawkins Friday with the help of a large pot of gold, via Shams Charania of The Athletic.

“Sources: Illinois transfer Coleman Hawkins – a 6-foot-10 F – has committed to play for Kansas State in what’s believed to be the most lucrative college basketball NIL deal ($2 million) negotiated from a collective by Nate Conley of Court XIV and Aaron Turner of Verus Basketball,” Charania tweeted Friday.

Hawkins was the highest-rated player still available in the portal, via CBS Sports' Matt Norlander.

“Hawkins averaged 12.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists last season,” Norlander explained. “He also shot 36.9% from beyond the arc for the Illini. He'll join a K-State team that's completely made over its roster thanks to what's regarded as one of the largest NIL war chests in the sport. The Wildcats have added former Michigan guard Dug McDaniel (16.3 ppg), former Samford stretch four Achor Achor (16.1 ppg), former Cal State Fullerton combo guard Max Jones (15.3 ppg) and former Kentucky big Ugonna Onyenso (3.6 ppg), among others. K-State's lone semi-regular starter is David N'Guessan (7.8 ppg), who started 21 times last season.”

With this roster, the Wildcats will be expected to be a top-25 squad in Tang's third campaign with the program. This would greatly improve last year's 19-15 (8-10 Big 12) record.

Will Hawkins help take Kansas State to the mountaintop in the newly expanded Big 12?

Kansas State should at least make the Sweet Sixteen

Illinois Fighting Illini forward Coleman Hawkins (33) dribbles the ball against the Connecticut Huskies in the finals of the East Regional of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at TD Garden.
© Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

NIL continues to change the landscape of college basketball. While the exact terms of Hawkins' deal aren't out yet, the compensation is in the same neighborhood as Washington's $2 million deal with Utah State transfer Great Osobor from earlier this offseason. As time passes, these contracts will continue to grow in value and equalize the playing field.

In the past, only the biggest programs would be able to revitalize their teams so heavily in one offseason. Now, any school with prominent NIL donors can offer large sums of money to transfer portal players of their choice. This has helped the Wildcats secure the 12th-best transfer class in the nation, via 247 Sports.

With Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah joining an already competitive Big 12 conference, the Wildcats will have their work cut out for them. Texas and Oklahoma are off to the SEC, but they'll still have to compete with the likes of Baylor, Kansas, Houston, TCU, and Texas Tech.

Hawkins, Onyenso, Achor, and Arkansas transfer Baye Fall should give Kansas State one of the most stacked frontcourts in the country. It'll now be up to Tang to cook a good meal out of the ingredients that the program got him from the transfer portal. Significant talent infusions raise expectations, and he could be ousted sooner rather than later if the Wildcats suffer another subpar season. The Sweet Sixteen should be the standard for this new-look club.