Kofi Cockburn withdraws from NBA Draft, remains in transfer portal


(WCIA) — Kofi Cockburn is coming back for another season of college basketball. On Tuesday, he announced via his Instagram page that he is withdrawing from the NBA Draft, but is keeping his name in the transfer portal. Cockburn’s announcement comes right before Wednesday’s NCAA deadline for players to withdraw from the draft and keep their eligibility.

Andrew Slater first reported the news that Cockburn “will explore his college options, including a potential return to Illinois.” ESPN also reported that Kentucky was “a serious option” for the 7-foot center, and he is taking college visits this week. Orlando Antigua, who played a big role in recruiting the Jamaica native to Champaign, is now an assistant coach at Kentucky along with former Illini assistant Chin Coleman.

Cockburn received an invite to the NBA G League Elite Camp in June, but did not get an invite to the NBA Combine. His return to college basketball also lines up with the NCAA’s new rule allowing athletes to profit of their name, image, and likeness. Last season, Cockburn was named first-team All-Big Ten and a second-team All-American last season, averaging 17.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.

Cockburn is among a handful of Big Ten players returning to college basketball after putting their names in the NBA Draft. Ohio State’s EJ Liddell is returning to the Buckeyes, while Big Ten Freshman of the Year Hunter Dickinson will also return to Michigan.

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