Big Ten Freshman of Year Cockburn returning to Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Big Ten Freshman of the Year Kofi Cockburn is returning to Illinois for his sophomore season.

The 7-foot, 290-pound Cockburn posted “IM BACK ‼️” with a graphic on Twitter on Saturday. The announcement means the Illini will have their top two players return from a team that was in line to make the NCAA Tournament last season, after all-conference guard Ayo Dosunmu said Friday he plans to return for his junior year rather than turn pro.

Cockburn, who’s from Jamaica and played at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, averaged 13.3 points and 8.8 rebounds — a record for an Illinois freshman.

The Illini have four starters returning from a team that went 21-10 overall and 13-7 in conference play. They were in line for their first NCAA appearance before the season got shut down because because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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