Illinois men’s basketball center Kofi Cockburn earns unanimous First-Team All-Big Ten honors


Cameron Krasucki

Junior center Kofi Cockburn smiles during Illinois men’s basketball’s 74-72 win over Iowa that clinched a share of the conference title on Sunday at State Farm Center.

By Jackson Janes, Sports Editor

Junior center Kofi Cockburn has been named a unanimous First-Team All-Big Ten selection, the conference announced on Tuesday morning.

Cockburn earned first-team all-conference accolades for the second consecutive season, though this was the first time he was unanimously voted to receive the honor. Former guard and current Chicago Bull Ayo Dosunmu was a unanimous first-team selection last season.

Voted the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year, Cockburn averaged a double-double per game with 21.0 points and 10.6 rebounds, both of which are career-high marks. He also has started all 87 college basketball games he has participated in, and he averaged a career-best 30.1 minutes this season. 

His 21.0 points per game ranks second in the conference behind Iowa sophomore forward Keegan Murray, while his 10.6 rebounds per game is the best in the Big Ten. 

The Illini big man also shot 59.7% from the field, which is the second-best mark in the conference behind only Purdue sophomore center Zach Edey.

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Cockburn also improved significantly defensively, and he finished the regular season with 21 blocks and a career-high 20 steals to show for it.

The Jamaica native also was named a finalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, which honors the best center in college basketball, while he was named a first-team All-American by Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.

Cockburn scored at least 10 points in all 25 games he played in, though one of his best performances came against Wisconsin on Feb. 2, when he registered 37 points and was 16-19 from the field in Illinois’ 80-67 win, which sent them into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten.

Cockburn missed out on the Big Ten Player of the Year award, which went to Badger sophomore guard Johnny Davis.

Illinois will play either 8-seed Michigan or 9-seed Indiana in the third round of the Big Ten tournament on Friday in Indianapolis. Cockburn averaged 24 points and 8.5 rebounds against the Wolverines in their two meetings, while he scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the Illini’s sole matchup with the Hoosiers.



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