Less than a day after Ayo Dosunmu announced his plans to return for the 2020-21 season, Kofi Cockburn has decided he will also be returning to Champaign.
Like most of the world during the global pandemic, the basketball universe has struggled through tons of uncertainty. The NCAA canceled its season back in March, just before the Tournament — and the NBA is just getting back in action for its playoffs.
As the 2020-21 school year approaches, NCAA coaches need to have their rosters finalized. With the NBA’s season being pushed back, so is the draft (now scheduled for October), which also meant players have until Aug. 3 to decide if they were returning to school.
But Kofi didn’t wait that long.
Cockburn, a rising sophomore, joins teammate Dosunmu, a junior, in returning to the Illini, after both originally declared for the 2020 NBA Draft. Meaning both of the Illini’s dynamic duo from a year ago is coming back for at least one more year before moving on to the next level.
Many believe Cockburn is not NBA ready, although the numbers from his freshman season jump off the page.
A native of Jamaica, Cockburn started all 31 games for Illinois this season and averaged 13.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in his freshman campaign.
The soon-to-be 21-year-old also shot 67% at the free throw line, had 20 assists, and added 44 blocks and 17 steals on the defensive end.
In a season in which he had 12 double-doubles, Cockburn picked up seven Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors and took home Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
With Cockburn deciding to return to school for his sophomore season and beyond, the Illini will ride their 7-foot, 290-pound beast along with Ayo toward, hopefully, a national championship.