Illinois is going to be without its best player to start the 2021-2022 basketball season.

Center Kofi Cockburn has been suspended 3 games as it’s a required part of the reinstatement process. Cockburn sold institutionally issued apparel and memorabilia in June, which isn’t allowed by the NCAA.

The games that Cockburn will have to miss are Nov. 9 against Jackson State, Nov. 12 against Arkansas State, and Nov. 15 against Marquette. Illinois should be at least 2-1 coming out of that stretch, if not 3-0 when Cockburn is ready to return.

He was sensational for the Fighting Illini last season as he averaged nearly 18 points per game (17.7 to be exact) with 9.5 rebounds per game as well. Illinois will need him fully healthy when he’s back if it wants to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

The first game that Cockburn will be able to play in is Nov. 22 against Cincinnati.