CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Illinois freshman center Kofi Cockburn swept both Big Ten Conference weekly honors, the conference office announced on Monday, taking home league Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week awards.
The 7-foot-, 280-pounder averaged 17.7 points and 14.7 rebounds and had a double-double in all three Illini victories during the week over Hawaii, The Citadel and Hampton. Illinois head coach Brad Underwood spoke to media Monday about the development of the physically largest basketball player in program history.
“The uniqueness of Kofi is his sheer size and his athleticism,” Underwood said. “Teams don't have that. Those awards are a tribute to him but also a tribute to his teammates (who have) fully accepted him. Big men don't have success w/o really good guards.”
In the 85-57 win over The Citadel on Nov. 20, Cockburn took over the Illini freshman single-game rebounding record as the Jamaican native went for 18 points and 17 rebounds in 24 minutes. Sitting courtside and doing color analyst work with play-by-play voice Brian Barnhart for the Illini Radio Network was Deon Thomas, the program’s all-time leading scorer and man who owned that record for 28 years, 10 months and 22 days.
Cockburn became the first player to sweep the league's weekly player and freshman award since Michigan State's Nick Ward on Feb. 27, 2017 and is already Cockburn’s second Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Week honor this season.