Illinois junior center Kofi Cockburn is once again entering his name in the NBA draft, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Because he previously tested the draft waters in 2020 and 2021, Cockburn won’t be permitted to withdraw from the draft this time around, so he’ll forgo his remaining NCAA eligibility.
“I’m 100% in now,” Cockburn told ESPN. “I’m not going back to college. I’m signing with agent Todd Ramasar. I’ve tested the waters enough, I’m 100% dedicated to going all the way.”
The No. 89 prospect on ESPN’s top-100 list, Cockburn was a consensus first-team All-American and was the only college player to average 20+ points and 10+ rebounds per game in 2021/22, says Givony.
The 22-year-old put up 20.9 PPG, 10.6 RPG, and 1.0 BPG in 28 appearances (30.7 MPG) for the Fighting Illini, but acknowledges that he’ll have to tweak his college game – which was heavy on back-to-the-basket, low-post scoring – to succeed in the NBA.
“The NBA values players like Steven Adams and Jonas Valanciunas — guys who set great screens, who know the pick and roll game, how to slip and seal, how to be a physical defender and rebounder who blocks shots,” Cockburn said. “My size can be a major advantage in the NBA. I don’t need the ball to be happy.”
Here are a few more updates on early entrants declaring for the 2022 NBA draft:
- UCLA senior wing Jules Bernard will go through the draft process while maintaining his college eligibility, he announced on Instagram. Bernard, the Bruins’ third-leading scorer with 12.8 PPG in 2021/22, joins teammate Peyton Watson among UCLA players in the draft pool.
- Kansas senior power forward David McCormack is entering the 2022 draft and appears prepared to go pro, forging his final year of NCAA eligibility, he announced on Instagram. After earning Big 12 Most Improved Player honors in 2021, McCormack had another strong season for the eventual champs, averaging 10.6 PPG and 7.0 RPG in 40 games (21.9 MPG).
- Northern Iowa junior guard AJ Green has decided to enter the draft while maintaining his college eligibility and entering the transfer portal, he announced on Twitter. The two-time Player of the Year in the Missouri Valley Conference has averaged 19.4 PPG with a .390 3PT% in 65 contests (35.7 MPG) since the start of the 2019/20 season.
- Oklahoma senior guard Umoja Gibson will test the draft waters, he announced on Twitter. Gibson, who has spent the last two years at Oklahoma after transferring from North Texas, averaged 13.3 PPG on .435/.390/.871 shooting in 35 games (32.1 MPG) in his senior year.