By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
A key player from the Northwest Missouri State's men's basketball lineup will be playing elsewhere next season.
Multiple sources confirmed Monday that senior Ryan Hawkins has entered the NCAA transfer portal as a grad transfer.
Hawkins holds the program record with 131 games played and is among the all-time leaders in steals, rebounds, field goals, points, three-pointers and double-doubles.
He's also one of four active players in all of NCAA basketball with 2,000 career points and 900 rebounds.
"He is our culture," Northwest head coach Ben McCollum told KFEQ in a March interview when asked about Hawkins. "He's a very humble kid. He understands what he has. He gets it. He understands that this is a great place."
Hawkins averaged 22.6 points and 8.8 rebounds this past season, helping the Bearcats to their second-straight national championship and their third in program history.
Hawkins was dominant in this last postseason, averaging 25.9 points in eight games between the MIAA Tournament, Central Regional and Elite Eight.
He was named the Elite Eight's Most Outstanding Player after scoring 31 points and grabbing 18 rebounds game in the national championship game against West Texas A&M.
Hawkins had told reporters during the postseason that he initially planned to return to Northwest.
The Bearcats are still slated to return their other four starters in Trevor Hudgins, Diego Bernard, Luke Waters and Wes Dreamer, as well as Central Region MVP Byron Alexander.
All indications also point toward Coach McCollum staying on the sideline for the Bearcats next season.
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