Kentucky Men’s Basketball has come out as a clear winner in the redefined transfer portal sweepstakes, but the staff isn’t done quite yet.
As we’ve covered many times before on the site, Illinois transfer Kofi Cockburn recently elected to pull his name from the NBA Draft process and return to school for another year. The 7-foot, 285-pound Second Team All-American hasn’t ruled out a potential return to Illinois, but Kentucky and its revamped coaching staff (made up of two former Illinois assistants) are making a serious push to land him, as are a handful of other big-name schools.
If you would like to know just how important of a player Cockburn would be for the Wildcats if John Calipari were to successfully recruit him to Lexington, allow ESPN’s Jeff Borzello to explain. He has Cockburn as the top-overall transfer in the country after releasing an updated rankings list on Friday morning.
In reality, Cockburn might be one of the best transfers to ever put his name into the portal, as Borzello added in his blurb.
Arguably the best transfer to enter the portal since we began closely covering transfers a few years ago, Cockburn will be a preseason All-American wherever he lands. A first-team All-Big Ten performer, Cockburn averaged 17.7 points and 9.5 rebounds last season. Kentucky is a school to watch here. — Jeff Borzello, ESPN
Despite the depth already on the roster for Kentucky, adding Cockburn would be a no-brainer. He turns 22 this September and is coming off a sophomore season where he led Illinois to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Cockburns’ averages of 17.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game on 65 percent shooting last season (in just 27 minutes per outing, mind you) would provide immediate impact in 2021-22 for whichever team he chooses.
Cockburn isn’t the only top 100 transfer considering making his way to Kentucky over the summer, either. The ‘Cats already have four other transfers on the current roster ranked by ESPN among the 70.
No. 9 Oscar Tshiebwe (West Virginia)
No. 13 Kellan Grady (Davidson)
No. 20 Sahvir Wheeler (Georgia)
No. 66 CJ Fredrick (Iowa)
Former Kentucky guard Devin Askew, who transferred to Texas during the offseason, was tabbed as the 32nd best transfer while Cam’Ron Fletcher, who went from UK to Florida State, came in just outside the top 100.