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REPORT: Kofi Cockburn signs with Jazz as UDFA

The King is headed to Utah.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Rutgers vs Illinois Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Kofi is a part of the Jazz.

Months of preparation that included the NBA Draft Combine and multiple pre-draft workouts with teams such as the Charlotte Hornets, Atlanta Hawks, Utah Jazz, and Washington Wizards led to Cockburn signing Friday as a free agent wirh Utah. He went undrafted in Thursday’s NBA Draft.

As for Kofi’s Illini career, he leaves Champaign as an all-time great. The two-time consensus All-American started every game he played in during his 3 seasons in Champaign. In the Illini record books, the 7-foot, 285-pound center ranks as follows:

  • 8th in Points Per Game (17.2)
  • 7th in Total Rebounds Per Game (9.6)
  • 3rd in Field Goal Percentage (59.6%)
  • 2nd in Offensive Rebounds (307)
  • 3rd in Defensive Rebounds (554)
  • 3rd in Total Rebounds (861)
  • 1st in Player Efficiency Rating (29.8)
  • 1st in Usage Rate (28.4)

Cockburn was one of the best players in college basketball this past season. King Kofi, as he’s called, averaged 20.9 points per game and 10.6 rebounds per game, shooting 59.3% from the field. That stat line led Kofi to be the only player in the nation, and the first Illini in 50 years (Nick Weatherspoon, 1972), to average at least 20 points and at least 10 rebounds. He was also the only person in college basketball this year to finish in the top 20 nationally in both points per game (11th) and rebounds per game (8th).

In this past season, Kofi broke Illini legend Deon Thomas’s record for most double-doubles in Illinois history. Cockburn finished his Illinois career with an outstanding 45 double-doubles, the second-most in the nation over the past three years. Kofi’s 1,546 points and 861 rebounds are the most accumulated by a single player over a three-year career in an Illinois jersey.

The Jazz are signing Kofi hoping that this college success will translate into NBA success. Many draft analysts were right on Thursday that he wouldn’t get picked. Krysten Peek of Yahoo! Sports, The NBA Draft Room, Cody Taylor of USA Today, and Kyle Irving of Sporting News all had the Jamaican big man going undrafted. Zach Harper of The Athletic actually had Cockburn being drafted at pick No. 36 to the Portland Trail Blazers, making Harper an outlier among other draft analysts. Regardless, the Illini legend now has a shot to prove himself this summer in Utah and looks to do just that.