College/Prep Sports Reporter

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

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Illinois center Kofi Cockburn (21) goes up between Minnesota's forward Eric Curry (24) and Minnesota's guard Gabe Kalscheur (22) in their Big 10 opener at the State Farm Center in Champaign on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020.

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Welcome to “Good Morning, Illini Nation,” your daily dose of college basketball news from Illini beat writer and AP Top 25 voter Scott Richey. He’ll offer up insights every morning on Brad Underwood’s team:

Episode 158: Continuing to move forward

Kofi Cockburn will announce his college basketball home for the 2021-22 season today. All indications are it will be Illinois, but there's never any guarantees in recruiting. And that's what this is. The Illini coaches had to re-recruit Cockburn.

But what might his potential (probable?) return to Illinois mean. A pair of Associated Press Top 25 voters weighed in.

Craig Meyer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“I think getting (Kofi) Cockburn back would fundamentally transform Illinois' outlook for next season. Without him, you're looking at a program that would be scrambling to make up for all that it lost, whether it's players like (Ayo) Dosunmu and (Adam) Miller or all three of its assistant coaches. With him, I don't think Illinois is the national title threat in the same way it was last season, but with Cockburn, Curbelo and Frazier, it's a group I could see being ranked for much of the season and remaining in contention for a place among the top teams in the Big Ten.”

Rick Bozich, WDRB-TV

"A week ago, everybody was telling me that he was bound for Rupp Arena. Quite a rally by Brad Underwood if Kofi (Cockburn) returns to Champaign. Helps the Big Ten have another NCAA Tournament team. With Andre Curbelo and Trent Frazier, they're a dangerous team any night they bring it.”

Scott Richey covers college basketball for The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

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