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Kofi Cockburn returns to Illinios after flirting with transfer destinations

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Despite interest from high-major programs in the transfer portal, Kofi Cockburn has opted to run it back with the Fighting Illini.

Fans of Illinois Basketball can breathe a sigh of relief, as All-American center Kofi Cockburn has announced he will return to the program for the 2021-22 season.

As reported by Jeremy Werner of the Illini Inquirer, Cockburn opted to come back for a third season at Illinois after turning down interest from Kentucky, Florida State, and several other “high-major programs”.

NCAA Basketball: Kofi Cockburn is returning to Illinois

Last season, Cockburn averaged 17.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game en route to earning All-Big Ten First Team honors and he was selected to Second-Team All-America as well.

Among those excited for the return of Cockburn is Illinois head coach Brad Underwood.

“We are beyond thrilled to have Kofi remain a Fighting Illini and add the nation’s top player to our lineup,” Underwood said. “Kofi has been thorough during every step of his process, from exploring professional opportunities to making the decision to return to college. He has played a major role in our success the last two years and has more individual and team goals to achieve this season. Kofi will have the chance to expand new aspects of his game while continuing to be a dominant inside force on both ends of the floor.”

Cockburn played a critical role in helping Illinois to a 24-7 overall record (16-4 conf.) as the Illini won the Big Ten Tournament and earned a No.1 seed in the NCAA Tournament before falling to Loyola-Chicago in the second round.

Among the departures for Illinois are First-Team All-American guard Ayo Dosunmu (draft) guard Adam Miller who transferred to LSU.

Despite the losses, the return of Cockburn and fellow teammates Andre Curbelo, last season’s Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year, and senior guard Trent Frazier headlines a strong cast of leaders for the team.

Cockburn’s return will solidify Illinois as one of, if not the team to beat in the Big Ten.


Despite interest from high-major programs in the transfer portal, Kofi Cockburn has opted to run it back with the Fighting Illini.

Fans of Illinois Basketball can breathe a sigh of relief, as All-American center Kofi Cockburn has announced he will return to the program for the 2021-22 season.

As reported by Jeremy Werner of the Illini Inquirer, Cockburn opted to come back for a third season at Illinois after turning down interest from Kentucky, Florida State, and several other “high-major programs”.

NCAA Basketball: Kofi Cockburn is returning to Illinois

Last season, Cockburn averaged 17.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game en route to earning All-Big Ten First Team honors and he was selected to Second-Team All-America as well.

Among those excited for the return of Cockburn is Illinois head coach Brad Underwood.

“We are beyond thrilled to have Kofi remain a Fighting Illini and add the nation’s top player to our lineup,” Underwood said. “Kofi has been thorough during every step of his process, from exploring professional opportunities to making the decision to return to college. He has played a major role in our success the last two years and has more individual and team goals to achieve this season. Kofi will have the chance to expand new aspects of his game while continuing to be a dominant inside force on both ends of the floor.”

Cockburn played a critical role in helping Illinois to a 24-7 overall record (16-4 conf.) as the Illini won the Big Ten Tournament and earned a No.1 seed in the NCAA Tournament before falling to Loyola-Chicago in the second round.

Among the departures for Illinois are First-Team All-American guard Ayo Dosunmu (draft) guard Adam Miller who transferred to LSU.

Despite the losses, the return of Cockburn and fellow teammates Andre Curbelo, last season’s Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year, and senior guard Trent Frazier headlines a strong cast of leaders for the team.

Cockburn’s return will solidify Illinois as one of, if not the team to beat in the Big Ten.

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