According to multiple reports, Kofi Cockburn will not be returning for another year in Champaign.
The Illini big man declared for the NBA Draft on April 18, but signed with a NCAA-approved agent and maintained his amateur status. After testing the waters, sources said Cockburn decided to stick in the draft.
Sources indicate that All-Big Ten Kofi Cockburn @kxng_alpha will not be returning to Illinois. Cockburn, the consensus 2nd-team All-American C, will remain in the 2021 NBA Draft. #Illini https://t.co/rQojpqfxki— ℯ ℯ (@Andrew__Slater) May 27, 2021
Illinois big man Kofi Cockburn to remain in NBA Draft. https://t.co/tyXh8liiCN— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) May 27, 2021
Later Thursday morning, Cockburn retweeted Slater’s tweet, which said “sources’ had him staying in the draft.
As much as Ayo Dosunmu helped the Illini get back on the map, Cockburn’s dominance has been as big a factor as any in the Illini winning the most games in the Big Ten over the past two seasons.
The Kingston, Jamaica, native is coming off a season in which he averaged 17.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. It was Cockburn — not Luka Garza, Trevion Williams or Trayce Jackson-Davis — who led the Big Ten in double-doubles and rebounding.
Cockburn was the only player in the NCAA to average at least 15 points and 9 rebounds while shooting at least 60% from the field. As a result, Cockburn’s excellence earned him a spot on the All-Big Ten First Team and as a Second Team All-American.
If he stayed, he would have entered his junior season potentially as a favorite for Big Ten and/or National Player of the Year. He led the nation last season with 78 dunks.
Here’s a look at where things stand right now scholarship-wise.