Illinois Basketball: Illini big man Kofi Cockburn enters transfer portal – Writing Illini - Techy Hunters

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Thursday, July 1, 2021

Illinois Basketball: Illini big man Kofi Cockburn enters transfer portal – Writing Illini

In some slightly alarming news, the Illinois basketball team might be losing their big man to a route other than the NBA.

Back in April, Illini center Kofi Cockburn decided to enter his name into the NBA Draft. He then reaffirmed his decision to stay in the draft back on June 20. But there are now reports that while Kofi is staying in the draft, he has also decided to enter the transfer portal.

This news was broken by Andrew Slater of Pro Insight. The tweet by Slater comes as a bit of a shock to the system, as Kofi seemed to be set on the NBA. It seemed that if he wasn’t going to go to the professional ranks, he would come back to Illinois for one more season.

That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

The news of Kofi entering the transfer portal while keeping his name in the NBA Draft pool comes less than a week before the July 7 deadline to withdraw from the draft. This is the final date for players to come back to the college ranks.

What are Illinois basketball fans to make of Kofi’s decision to enter into the transfer portal?

Honestly, this is a bit of a gut punch. I never dreamed that if Kofi came back to college, it would be with a different team. I realize that the Illini lost a lot of their coaching staff, but Brad Underwood is still the head coach and leading this team.

With that being said, it wouldn’t shock me to see Kofi pull his name out of the NBA Draft. Something happened in the past few weeks. Someone has been in his ear. If I had to guess, I would say Kofi backs out of the NBA Draft and ends up with the Kentucky Wildcats.

As far as roster construct goes, I have mentally moved on from Kofi a while ago. Illinois has Omar Payne as the No. 5 as of right now. I think we can add another player to the mix, but Payne should be serviceable. Illinois’ lineup doesn’t revolve around the big man. Andre Curbelo is the future and we have some great veterans returning.

It is extremely sad news to hear that if Kofi comes back to college, it likely won’t be with Illinois. Seeing him in another college jersey is going to feel weird. But Illinois basketball should be okay with or without the big man.



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