Cockburn named Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year


Ryan Ash

Center Kofi Cockburn walks out onto the court at State Farm Center before the St. Francis game on Saturday. Cockburn was voted Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year.

By Christian Jones, Staff Writer

Illini junior Kofi Cockburn was voted Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year by a panel of media members who cover the conference. The conference announced the selection Wednesday morning.

Cockburn is the first Illini to receive the Big Ten’s highest preseason honor since Dee Brown in 2005. Brown won the actual award in 2005 following his outstanding junior season and was predicted to win it again in 2006, but it went to Terence Dials of Ohio State.

If Cockburn were to win the award this season, he would become just the fourth Illini to do so, joining Frank Williams (2001), Brian Cook (2003) and Brown (2005).

Cockburn has put together a decorated Illini career in just two years. His accolades include Big Ten Freshman of the Year (2020), Third Team All-Big Ten (2020), consensus Second-Team All-American (2021), First-Team All-Big Ten (2021) and Wooden Award All-American (2021).

In addition, Cockburn has received several other preseason awards this year, including being named a First-Team All-American by Blue Ribbon, Athlon Sports and Dick Vitale. Cockburn also was placed on the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award watch list.

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