Kofi Cockburn (B1G Preseason POY) Must Take the Leap this Season

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Preseason awards are what they are- it’s like when you meet someone in college and they tell you that they are “Pre-Med” or “Pre-Law.” So take them with a grain of salt, but Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year is still indeed B1G POY and shout to to Kofi Cockburn for claiming it just now.

Although I was not invited on the media panel to vote for it, so again, how much stock do you want to really put in the award? Or any Big Ten award that I was somehow, someway left out of voting for. That said, I would voted for the Illini junior center anyway!

2021-22 PRESEASON ALL-BIG TEN TEAM*
Kofi Cockburn , JR., C, ILLINOIS
Andre Curbelo, So., G, Illinois
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS, JR., F, INDIANA
Keegan Murray, So., F, Iowa
Eric Ayala, Sr., G, Maryland
HUNTER DICKINSON, SO., C, MICHIGAN
Caleb Houstan, Fr., G/F, Michigan
E.J. LIDDELL, JR., F, OHIO STATE
JADEN IVEY, SO., G, PURDUE
Trevion Williams, Sr., F, Purdue
Ron Harper Jr., Sr., G/F, Rutgers

2021-22 BIG TEN PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Kofi Cockburn, Jr., C, Illinois

I really do expect big things from Kofi Cockburn this season. He’s a great dude off the court, just as much as he’s a fantastic player on it.

This offseason, he tested the NBA waters, flirted with the transfer market, and now he knows exactly who he is and who he is not, at this point. He’s a traditional, throwback, classic big man, and he needs to dominate accordingly.

Cockburn is the first Illini to be voted Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year since Dee Brown in 2005 prior to his senior season.

This is the second year in a row that Illinois has two players on the Preseason All-Big Ten Team, following Cockburn and Ayo Dosunmu

As we covered in our jumbo sized Illini basketball season preview, King Alpha is a massive rim-rattler, and he should overpower opponents consistently. However, he still needs to work on his passing and his foul shooting, among other things.

Loyola provided the blueprint on how to stop Illinois, and Drew Valentine (exclusive) can explain that further. (When you’re the one who is on the winning side of such monumental upsets, you’re much more willing to open up to the media about what happened, than the losing side is).

But hey, it’s all in the past now, and Kofi Cockburn is an AP Preseason All-America Team selection, on the watch list for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award, and a preseason first-team All-American selection.

Again people preseason watch lists…only look at them in a chill manner.

Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”

He has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and co-hosts the After Extra Time podcastFollow him on Twitter and Instagram

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