Illinois is an up-and-coming basketball team not just in the Big Ten, but the entire country. Some saw the Fighting Illini as a dark-horse in the B1G this season that could make the NCAA Tournament.
It seems as though those people aren’t crazy as of mid-January. On Saturday, Illinois defeated Rutgers 54-51 and the Illini now own a 12-5 overall record and a 4-2 record in the B1G. As of now, that 4-2 mark puts them as the No. 2 team in the conference standings.
How did Illinois get past Rutgers in a tight one on Saturday? In large part because of freshman big Kofi Cockburn. Cockburn had 11 points and 17 rebounds in the three-point victory. Again, he’s a freshman. And he’s putting up massive stat-lines already.
His 17 rebounds actually tied his own Illini all-time freshman record for most boards in a game:
BTW Kofi Cockburn tied his own #illini freshman record with 17 rebounds.
— Jeremy Werner (@JWerner247) January 11, 2020
The 7-foot, 290-pound first-year player is averaging 15 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per contest in his first 17 games.