Kofi Cockburn will be making his final decision on Friday, July 16, the Illinois standout announced Tuesday.
Announcement coming this Friday 07/16/21 ??
— Kofi Cockburn (@kxng_alpha) July 13, 2021
The 7-foot, 285-pound center announced he would be pulling his name out of the draft on July 6 and told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony that he would strongly consider UK for what is expected to be his final season of college basketball.
“I’m pretty much open. There’s a possibility I return to Illinois and a possibility I don’t,” Cockburn told ESPN. “I want to make a quick decision as soon as possible. I don’t want to go back and forth.”
The second-team All-American added that Orlando Antigua and Chin Coleman leaving for Kentucky this offseason is a key reason why he decided to enter the transfer portal, noting that the former was “the reason (he) went to Illinois” the first time around.
“He’s the reason I went to Illinois,” Cockburn said of Antigua. “When he left along with Chin Coleman, I decided to go in the portal to leave my options open. Kentucky? It’s a serious option. Antigua is my guy. I’m going to consider them, but there a lot of schools. I wasn’t really focused on that while I was in the NBA draft. Now I can take my time and evaluate it better.”
Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said in an interview this week that Cockburn understands he has a “tremendous legacy” in Champaign, but is gathering as much information on potential options as he can, something the staff has to accept.
“Sure, he’s our player — until he’s not,” said Underwood. ““I think we all have to understand that these are all educational times for guys to learn and gather as much information as they can on whatever front that is. That’s where Kofi’s at. He knows he’s got a tremendous legacy here and has been a tremendous part of what we’re doing. We’re always here to show him our love and help in whatever that looks like. We’ll be supportive of him any way we can.
“… We’re in a world where players have options, and they’re going to look at all those options, and so we accept that and we’re going to have to adapt to that.”
In his second year at Illinois, Cockburn was named a first-team All-Big Ten member after averaging 17.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 27 minutes per contest while shooting 65.4% from the field.
Come on down.