Big Ten Daily: Illini Forward Kofi Cockburn Declares for NBA Draft

Illinois center Kofi Cockburn is looking toward the professional ranks and Michigan guard Eli Brooks is returning for a fifth season. Plus, Sports Illustrated college football expert Jim Mora Jr. projects Purdue's Rondale Moore as a third-round pick in the NFL Draft.
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Illinois center Kofi Cockburn announced his decision to declare for the NBA Draft for the second straight season Sunday. He joins Illini teammate Ayo Dosunmu in looking to continue his basketball career at the professional level.

“Basketball took me places that I wouldn’t dare dream of as a boy, it taught me lessons in life,” Cockburn said in a statement via social media. “The NBA has been a lifelong dream of mine and I am ready to go to the next level and see what’s in store for me. This journey is really special to me and I appreciate everyone who played a part in getting me here.”

As a sophomore, Cockburn was a consensus second-team All-American after averaging 17.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game while shooting 65.4% from the floor. He and Dosunmu led Illinois to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament last season.

Cockburn is not listed as a projected draft pick by most major media outlets. He is expected to take part in pre-draft workouts to receive feedback from the NBA and improve his draft stock. The NBA Draft is scheduled for July 29, and the withdrawal date for NBA early entrees is July 19. However, the NCAA has not yet announced its withdrawal date.

Eli Brooks Returns to Michigan

The Michigan Basketball program announced Wednesday that guard Eli Brooks will return to the Wolverines for a fifth season. The NCAA awarded winter athletes an extra season of eligibility as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Brooks has played in 125 games over his four-year career, making him one of the most experienced players in the entire Big Ten. He averaged 9.5 points, 3.1 assists and 1.1 steals last season and shot 39.6% from 3-point range.

Michigan will be without guards Mike Smith and Chaundee Brown, while forwards Franz Wagner and Isaiah Livers may depart as well. The Wolverines finished with a record of 23-5 in 2020-21 while earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Jim Mora Jr. Says Purdue's Rondale Moore is a Third-Round Receiver

Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore dominated the Big Ten Conference as a freshman for Purdue and its offense. After three seasons of ups and downs with the Boilermakers, Moore is preparing for the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft.

Even though most of his film comes from the 2018 season, Moore is still considered a top-five prospect at wide receiver in the NFL Draft this year. We spoke with the Sports Illustrated college football expert and former NFL head coach Jim Mora Jr. to discuss Moore's strengths and how they translate to the professional level. 

“But in the third, fourth round you go ahead and take a chance on this guy just because of the talent, because of the intangibles, because of the things he can bring to a team,” Mora said.

To read the full story from our Sports Illustrated Purdue page, click here. 

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