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‘King out’: Kofi Cockburn entering NBA Draft

That’s it for Kofi.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

That’s all she wrote.

All-American center Kofi Cockburn announced Wednesday that he plans to enter the 2022 NBA Draft, putting a wrap on a historic career at Illinois.

In a tweet, Cockburn called his three-year journey at Illinois “a special one,” but said ‘playing in the NBA has been a longtime dream of minuend I truly think it’s time for me to take that next step.”

Cockburn, who also entered the draft in 2020 and 2021, said he will be signing an agent, According to NBA rules, he cannot withdraw his name from consideration a third time, meaning this is the end of his NCAA career.

“King out,” Cockburn finished his message.

Illinois Basketball’s official Twitter account thanked Kofi on Wednesday morning.

There was also a lot personally on the line for Cockburn this season. He had a chance to rake in money through the NCAA’s new NIL rule — which forced him to sit the start of last season. He also could have become possibly the greatest Illini of all-time.

Take a look at the stats gathered by WCIA’s Bret Behrens.

With ease, Kofi could have eclipsed Illinois’ all-time scoring and rebounding records. Plus, his jersey is already going up in the rafters.

Brad Underwood will now work to find a big man in the transfer portal to add some depth to the team. Here’s a look at the current scholarship start, which was thinned out by big man last week when Omar Payne transferred to Jacksonville.

The Illini still have Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk, who played more last season but still sparingly. Coleman Hawkins and Baylor transfer Dain Dainja are other options down low, but Underwood would surely like to have some kind of true center on the roster.

When Kofi committed in early 2019 to Illinois, I’m not sure we really knew what to expect. After three seasons, it’s obvious he was a game changer — and we’re never going to forget him.