CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — The Illinois basketball team is back from its foreign trip to Italy but two players were not able to go. Senior Andres Feliz (Dominican Republic) and freshman Kofi Cockburn (Jamaica), the top ranked recruit in the 2019 class, did not travel with the Illini due to visa issues. Illini head coach Brad Underwood spoke with the media for the first time since returning from abroad and says he’s not sure what the “snafu” was that kept them from traveling with the team.
“It was just a treaty,” Underwood said. “It affected most teams. Every country has a treaty with the country you’re going to. What the actual snafu was, we don’t know.”
Feliz and Cockburn left campus with the team and had planned to go on the trip. They were stopped in Miami after a connecting flight and were not allowed on the plane to Italy.
“I feel terrible for them because nobody knew about it and yet you look out there and almost every team we saw out there (Italy) had somebody impacted and left at home because of those things. It’s tough for those guys but from a basketball standpoint, we got a lot out of those 10 days.”
Illinois wasn’t the only program that did not have all of its players on a foreign trip. The Syracuse men’s basketball team was also in Italy and had a similar issue with freshman John Bol Ajak, who is from South Sudan. West Virginia’s top recruit, Oscar Tshiebwe, from Democratic Republic of Congro, did not travel with the team on its tour of Spain due to visa issues.