Kofi Cockburn returning to Illinois for junior year

Stacy Revere / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Illinois star center Kofi Cockburn will return to the Fighting Illini for the 2021-22 season, he announced Friday.

Cockburn had declared for the 2021 NBA Draft while also entering the transfer portal as he weighed his options for next season.

However, after withdrawing his name from the draft, the Jamaican-born big man continued to explore potential transfer destinations, including Kentucky, but he didn't rule out returning to Illinois.

Cockburn averaged 17.7 points for the Fighting Illini as a sophomore, second only to star guard Ayo Dosunmu on the team. He added a team-high 9.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game, and Cockburn was a consensus second-team All-American and an All-Big Ten first-team selection.

The 21-year-old helped Illinois go 24-7 during the season and win the Big Ten Tournament. The Fighting Illini were a No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament, but Loyola Chicago upset them in the second round.

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Kofi Cockburn returning to Illinois for junior year
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