On Sunday, the Illinois Fighting Illini picked up a commitment from 5-star center Kofi Cockburn. Cockburn gives Illinois exactly what they have been needing for the past couple seasons, an elite big that can impact the game. Kofi joins Antwan January (6’11 4-star) in Illinois 2019 recruiting class, the Illini have one open scholarship remaining.
This get is huge for Illini, both literally and figuratively, Cockburn stands at 6’10 and a monstrous 290 pounds, but what Cockburn brings to the table is more than just size, its a connection, its excitement, its a future. the senior big man is playing his final prep season at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, under legendary high school coach Steve Smith, having a connection with a program like Oak Hill is huge, because they have produced 30 plus NBA players including Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant, and over 100 division one players.
With Illinois head coach Brad Underwood picking up his second 5-star recruit in as many years, it gives the Illini fans something to be excited about, after a 4-11 start for the Illini, the fans, the program, and the school really needed something, and Cockburn delivered, a week after taking his official visit to Illinois.
Next season, Cockburn will be able to provide an immediate impact for the Illini at the center spot, his big body and long arms will allow him to gain position to grab rebounds and block shots defensively. Offensively, Cockburn will be a mismatch in the paint with his 290 pound frame. The arrival of Cockburn will allow Illinois big man Giorgi Bezhanishvili (10ppg/5rpg) to play more of his natural power forward spot, his emergence as a freshman has been big and will only grow in the coming years.
Here’s a look at the projected starting five for Illinois next fall, Trent Frazier, Ayo Dosunmu, Kipper Nichols, Bezhanishvili, Cockburn. Illini fans have something to be excited about, and a future to look forward to!