When Illinois center Kofi Cockburn declared for the NBA Draft in April, forgoing his remaining college eligibility, his prospects were bleak. The two-time All-American was barely cracking Top 100 lists.
Now, it’s not impossible for a team to take a flyer on a player late in the draft, but you generally know about half the players that will be selected in any given year. Leaving approximately 30 spots open for hundreds of other draft-eligible prospects. In other words...it’s REALLY hard to get drafted.
So this recent news from ESPN’s Jonathan Givony could be encouraging:
The NBA announced the 76 draft prospects who accepted invites to the NBA Draft Combine, which will take place May 18-20 in Chicago. pic.twitter.com/FZhemcVWxb— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 11, 2022
Of those invited to Chicago next week, several are consensus lottery picks — Ochai Agbaji, Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, AJ Griffin, Bennedict Mathurin, Shaedon Sharpe, Jabari Smith, as well as Big Ten standouts Johnny Davis, Jaden Ivey & Keegan Murray.
Kofi’s limited skills outside the post are the most likely reason he doesn’t have a higher draft grade. It’s not 2002 anymore, and most modern NBA bigs are now expected to be interchangeable positionally and stretch the floor. But Kofi will at least have a chance to show out in front of scouts, coaches & execs. It would be very surprising to me if a team didn’t give him a legitimate look.
The NBA Draft will be held Thursday, June 23.