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Big and bright, Illini’s Cockburn eyes deep NCAA tourney run

Illinois' Kofi Cockburn catches a ball as he goes into shooting drills during practice for the first round of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Pittsburgh. Illinois is to take on Chattanooga on Friday.

PITTSBURGH — Kofi Cockburn returned to Illinois for NCAA Tournament redemption.

The first-team All-American center flirted with going to the NBA after the Fighting Illini got knocked out in the second round a year ago.

But the 7-foot center returned for his junior year with his eyes on winning a title.

Arguably the most dominant player in this year’s tourney, Cockburn and his teammates will face Chattanooga in the first round of the South Region on Friday.

The Fighting Illini are a more relaxed team than they were a year ago, when COVID-19 protocols muted their fun.

 

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Associated Press

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