Cockburn entered his name into the NBA draft earlier this offseason and has until Wednesday to withdraw from the draft. He hasn’t closed the door on a return to Illinois, sources said, but wants to explore all his options before deciding.
He is the best player to enter the transfer portal this offseason and would arguably be the best men’s college basketball player to transfer in at least the past several years.
A 7-footer from Jamaica, Cockburn earned first-team All-Big Ten honors after averaging 17.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game last season. He shot 65.4% from the field and notched 16 double-doubles. His highlights included a 33-point, 13-rebound performance against Minnesota in December and a 26-point effort against Luka Garza and Iowa in the Big Ten tournament.
Cockburn helped lead Illinois to a Big Ten tournament title and 1-seed in the NCAA tournament before finishing with 21 points and nine rebounds in a second-round upset loss to Loyola Chicago.
If Cockburn does transfer, one school to keep an eye on could be Kentucky, which hired assistant coaches Chin Coleman and Orlando Antigua from Illinois this offseason.
Cockburn is ranked No. 96 in ESPN’s NBA draft rankings.