Despite a rough weekend losing their fourth game in conference to in-state rival Northwestern, Illinois and Brad Underwood still had something to be excited about Sunday night after the commitment of ESPN Top-100 big man, Kofi Cockburn.
The 6’10” center out of Oak Hill Academy chose the Illini over what many believed to be the two favorites in Pittsburgh and UConn:
5⭐️ 6’11” Kofi Cockburn @kxng_alpha of @NYRhoops & Oak Hill @OHACoachSmith has committed to Illinois #Illini— Andrew Slater (@Andrew__Slater) January 6, 2019
Will provide Coach Underwood & @AyoDos_11 with an immediate-impact big man
According to Jeff Bozello of ESPN, Brad Underwood — and Orlando Antigua — “made a strong push in recent weeks and brought Cockburn to campus in late December. Illinois had picked up some momentum heading into the visit and sealed his commitment while in Champaign.”
It’s no hyperbole saying that this is one of the biggest commitments in recent Illini basketball history. Underwood desperately needed some positive momentum moving forward and Cockburn brings that in spades. He’s a physical specimen on the block and gobbles up rebounds like it’s his life blood. He’s also pretty spry for a guy that has weighed in as big as 290 pounds.
If you could build a Big Ten big man in a lab, Cockburn would check most of the boxes.
What’s more, this past summer on the EYBL circuit, the big man averaged a double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds) while shooting over 50% from the field. He’s currently averaging 15 and 9 at Oak Hill Academy.
With the guards that Underwood currently has on the roster, Cockburn will surely be a welcome addition next year that would push the Illini from the conference cellar to a not-so-dark horse.