Protect Andre Curbelo at all costs, Illinois Fighting Illini basketball fans! With yesterday’s news that junior center Kofi Cockburn has entered the transfer portal, the sophomore point guard is now almost certain to be the Illini alpha dog next season. Whilst entering the transfer portal, Cockburn has still kept his name in the NBA Draft, so what does this is all mean?
While he still may and could return to Illinois, don’t bet on it, and now the Illini are losing not just their best player from last season (Ayo Dosunmu), but also their second best, who was going to be top dogthis fall, in Kofi Cockburn. Overall, their prospects for the season just took a major downturn.
With Kofi Cockburn back, you could talk about this team having great NCAA Tournament odds, and likely being preseason top 25. Look on onlinecasinocrawler.com for potentially good March Madness bets, and the Illini might even register as solid sleeper. With the Jamaican 7-footer now moving on (not a done deal, but very likely) that is all by the wayside. Cockburn easily had the chance to be Big Ten Preseason player of the year, and he would have been the center piece, both literally and figuratively, of a decent core, which included star-in-the-making Curbelo and veterans Trent Frazier, Da’Monte Williams and Jacob Grandison.
Add in key transfers Alfonso Plummer and Omar Payne, and you probably have an upper division Big Ten team.
With the big man though, the formula just doesn’t work, and you really have to wonder, who is going to be playing in the front-court for the Illini?
While the regular season was amazing for Illinois, as they won more Big Ten games than anyone else, claimed the Big Ten Tournament title and clinched a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the postseason was a huge catastrophe, and the off-season has been a total disaster.
Everyone knew that Dosunmu was leaving, so that wasn’t a shock by any means. However, no one thought that Adam Miller, a big name recruit that was in the starting five would bolt. And losing all three of your assistants after a season which was the best in school history since 2005?
What are you serious?
And now Head Coach Brad Underwood had to hire his son, Tyler Underwood, who is only a couple years out of playing as a walk-on himself to be the new Director of Recruiting? Are you serious?
How did this dark storm cloud follow the Illini basketball program around and why did it decide to park itself right above Assembly Hall?
My next book is going to be a novel.
About an Irish-American family in the Chicago south suburbs who all go to/went to Illinois, and eat, drink, sleep, breath, live and die Illini sports.
It will be a very dark comedy https://t.co/ZLI1v8yoAY
— Paul M. Banks (@PaulMBanks) July 1, 2021
As Illini fan will tell you, we simply just cannot have nice things; ever. Just as rapidly as Illini basketball returned to being nationally relevant, poof, crash, it was all gone just like that.
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