Kofi Cockburn, Jamaican-born sophomore center with the “Fighting Illini” at the University of Illinois, announced on Instagram that he will participate in his second consecutive NBA Draft, which is scheduled for July 29, 2021. While Cockburn, a Second Team All-American, is not a projected draft pick among major media outlets like CBS Sports or ESPN, it is expected that he will participate in pre-draft workouts in hopes of improving his position with the NBA and receive feedback from the organization. Currently, Cockburn is ranked at No. 59 on the prospect list of NBADraft.net, which comprises 60 picks.
In 2020, Cockburn, at the time the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Year in men’s basketball, withdrew his name from consideration in the NBA Draft to return to the Illinois program for his sophomore year.
Cockburn was born in 1999 in Kingston, Jamaica, but moved to join his mother in Queens, New York, in 2014. He attended Christ the King Regional High School in Middle Village, New York, through his junior year, participating in the Basketball Without Borders Americas camp in 2017 and as a member of the World Team for the Nike Hoop Summit in 2018. He transferred to Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, for his senior year. Before his transfer, he had 26 scholarship offers and ultimately decided to attend university in Illinois because of his relationship with Orlando Antigua, assistant coach, and others on the Illinois coaching staff.
During his debut season at Illinois, Cockburn achieved 10 points and 11 rebounds to help his team defeat Nicholls 78-70 in overtime. He was named Big Ten Player of the Week on November 25, 2019 after setting a freshman record for rebounds with 17 in a game. At the end of the regular season in 2019, Cockburn was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, chosen to the Third Team All-Big Ten by the media and received Honorable Mention All-Conference. He was the second-top scorer at Illinois in his first year and its top rebounder. He had a shooting average of 53.2 percent from the floor and 67.7 percent from the foul line.
Photo – Kofi Cockburn Instagram