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Illinois center Kofi Cockburn declares for NBA Draft

The two biggest stars for Illinois in 2021 could be playing their next basketball game in the NBA

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — It's looking like Illinois basketball could very well be without their two biggest pieces next season.

After guard Ayo Dosunmu declared for the NBA Draft earlier in April, his teammate Kofi Cockburn did the same on Sunday.

"I would like to thank God for giving me the opportunity to walk this journey and build all these wonderful relationships and memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you to my coaches, mentors and family for always offering me the love, guidance and wisdom needed to cross every obstacle that came my way, for them I am truly grateful. 

To my team, you have helped in making me the man I am today in so many ways, no matter how many challenges came, we looked out for one another and I am proud to call you my brothers," Cockburn wrote on Twitter.

"Illini Nation, I can't even begin to express how happy I am to be an Illini. You guys were not allowed to attend most of the games, but your love was felt throughout the entire season. You guys provided ultimate support, and I have no regrets from choosing you.

Basketball took me places that I wouldn't dare dream of as a boy. It taught me lessons in life. 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. 21 out."

Cockburn was a First-Team All-Big 10 and NCAA Consensus Second-Team All-American in his sophomore season and helped the Illini to a Big 10 Tournament title and No. 1 seed in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

Cockburn could still elect to return to Illinois after exploring the draft process.

Dosunmu is expected to be a lottery pick in the July 29th draft.

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