As three Illini enter NBA Draft, all eyes towards Cockburn, Williams


CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Three Illini have announced they are going pro, with Ayo Dosunmu, Giorgi Bezhanishvili, and Trent Frazier all putting their names in the NBA draft. Frazier, will hire an NCAA approved agent to maintain his eligibility, while Dosunmu will not. He’s projected to be a first round draft pick.

With key parts of the starting lineup out the door, including Adam Miller who entered the transfer portal, all eyes are on Da’Monte Williams and Kofi Cockburn and their decisions.

Williams could take advantage of an extra season of eligibility that the NCAA granted due to COVID-19 affecting the season. Cockburn has already gone through the NBA Draft process after the 2019-20 season, but like Dosunmu, decided to return after going through the process. Cockburn improved this season, averaging 17.7 points and 9.5 rebounds to end the 2020-21 season, but struggled at the free throw line shooting 54.1%.

There’s no doubt that Cockburn has pro-level talent, but it’s up to him to decide what he could gain with another year in Champaign.

“The class in the draft changes, he’s got a different body of work than he had last year, so it’s about processing all that information,” says head coach Brad Underwood. “I think for Kofi it’s about continuing to grow his game.”

The All-American ranked third in the country with 16 double-doubles this season, and was named a First-Team All Big Ten selection this season.

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