Illini Basketball: Kofi Cockburn, Ayo Dosunmu NBA Draft Stock Report


It’s time to get bullish on Illinois Fighting Illini basketball. Are they big board, blue chip AAA+ investment grade? No, not yet, but they’re also definitely not the junk bond penny stock level dreck we had seen in the first two years of the Brad Underwood era/much of the John Groce regime.

Led by a very talented inside-outside combo, in guard Ayo Dosunmu and center Kofi Cockburn, the Illini will head into the weekend sitting in second place in a very tough league that, although it has no great teams, has a lot of good ones, and almost everybody is not bad.


Barring a massive upset this weekend, when Illinois hosts Northwestern, the Illini will be 13-5, 5-2 in the league on Martin Luther King Day. In a very congested and difficult to sort out Big Ten, where everybody demolishes everyone else’s chances of moving up/staying high in the polls (if the polls actually mean anything this year), it’s time to stop selling the Illini short, and adopt some long positions on the team’s prospects.

With Illini basketball looking better this year, we’ve heard a lot of talk about Ayo and/or Kofi going early entry to the NBA, but they should they? What is their NBA Draft stock trading at these days?

We’ll start with Dosunmu, as this is a topic we explored last season as well.

He’s a big lead guard with great ball-handling abilities and creativity in creating shots. Some have compared the 6-5 sophomore to Jrue Holiday.


He leads the team and is seventh in the Big Ten in scoring at 15.5 ppg. He has reached double digits in 13 of 17 games with four 20-point performances. He’s also shooting 47% from the floor.

ayo dosunmu

However, we only saw him listed in three of the NBA mock drafts on the internet, after going through every single one that the Google machine pointed us towards.

Ayo Dosnumu mocksourcing: My NBA #57  Tankathon #57

NBA Draft Room 2020 (first five out)

Obviously, mock drafts are far from the end all, be all, but he’s barely registering in this online world. Same goes for Kofi- he’s just not on their radar right now. Again takes these things with not just a grain of salt, but a whole spoonful.

Kofi Cockburn mocksourcing: NBA Draft Room 2021 (first four out)

The 7′ 300 lb Jamaican with a 7-6 wingspan is a brute force with nimble feet who’s 22nd nationally in offensive rebound percentage (15.6) and 14th nationally in fouls drawn per 40 minutes (7.0). Averaging nearly a double double per game, Cockburn leads Illini basketball in rebounding and blocks.

illini basketball

He has six Big Ten freshman of the week awards already, and also set the Illinois freshman record for double-doubles in a season; with over two months left in the season.

Still, he needs to work on his shot selection, and get his FG% and FT% headed north. With Ayo, he’s got to become a more accurate three point shooter. If that happens, then perhaps we’ll see these guys’ NBA Draft stock soar. It’s a long season, and a lot can happen, but as of now, I don’t see why Illini basketball fans should be worried about either of the two star players leaving early for the league.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC and Chicago on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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