Here we go.
Illinois star center Kofi Cockburn has withdrawn from the NBA Draft and will explore his college options in the transfer portal.
Andrew Slater was the first to break the news, adding that a return to Illinois remains on the table.
7’ Kofi Cockburn will withdraw from the NBA Draft. @kxng_alpha will explore his college options, including a potential return to Illinois. This season, Kofi was named a 2nd-team All-American & earned 1st-team All-Big 10 distinction. He can elevate a program to a National Title. pic.twitter.com/5A61W2qX5s
— ?????? ?????? (@Andrew__Slater) July 6, 2021
Cockburn, a Second-Team All-American in 2020-21, decided to enter the transfer portal back on July 1. Since then, it has been confirmed that Kentucky has been in contact with the 7-foot, 285-pound center out of Jamaica, with the Wildcats seen as a likely destination should he opt to leave the Illinois program.
The former four-star, top-50 prospect in the class of 2019 earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors in 2019-20 after averaging 13.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per contest in his debut campaign. Upon returning to Champaign for a sophomore season, Cockburn averaged 17.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per contest to go with 16 double-doubles, which ranked third nationally.
The second-year center helped lead Illinois to its best season in 16 years, finishing with a final record of 24-7, a Big Ten Tournament Championship, and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
While a return to Champaign remains on the table, Kentucky snagged both Orlando Antigua and Chin Coleman from the Illinois coaching staff this offseason, making the connection to UK an obvious one.
Could UK pull off the late surprise and add a Second-Team All-American to the roster in July?