Illinois basketball prepares for the season

Zaidyn Jeffries, Staff writer

The University of Illinois basketball team is ready for the season. They are bringing back guard Ayo Dosunmu and center Kofi Cockburn. They carried the Illinois basketball team last year to a 21-10 record which made them 4th in the Big 10 conference. A pre-season poll placed the Illini 8th in the nation according to CBS sports. Dosunmu and Cockburn declared for the draft after last season but both decided to return to Illinois. 

Dosunmu and Cockburn both made the All Big Ten Team representing Illinois. Dosunmu averaged 16.6 pts with 3 assists per game, and Cockburn averaged 13.3 pts with 1.4 blocks and 8.8 rebounds per game.

Ayo Dosunmu is from Chicago and went to high school at Morgan Park High School. Morgan Park is one of the best high schools in the state. This school has produced many Division 1 athletes like Dosunmu and Adam Miller. 2020 will be Adam Miller’s freshman season. He was named Illinois Mr. Basketball and is the 13th Illinois player to have received this award. Ayo Dosunmu and Adam Miller were once teammates. Dosunmu was a senior when Miller started as a sophomore, and they led Morgan Park to a 2018 IHSA Class 3A State Championship. Last year Miller led Morgan Park to the IHSA to the 3A Sectional Final before the State Tournament was canceled due to COVID-19. He averaged 27.4 Points in high school. Miller was ranked 6th by 247Sports, 8th by ESPN and 10th by Rivals, showing the true talent that Illinois just picked up.

Kofi Cockburn was originally born in Kingston, Jamaica, but came to the United States in 2010. He went to Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, then moved to New York for three years before coming to Illinois. In his freshman season, Cockburn averaged 13.3 points and made Big Ten Freshman of the Year. He was the only Illini player that started all 31 games. He shot 53.2% from the field and led the Illini with 44 blocks.  He was ranked 43rd by the recruiting services consensus index and 50th by ESPN. Kofi Cockburn has promising talent and has a big future in front of him, even a chance to go to the NBA.

Illinois is scheduled to play Duke on December 8. This will be a challenge for Illinois since Duke is one of the best in the nation.