CHAMPAIGN — The Illinois men's basketball team officially added its second recruit for the Class of 2019 on Thursday.
Head coach Brad Underwood announced that Bernard Kouma has signed a Big Ten Tender of Financial Aid with the University of Illinois.
Kouma is a 6-foot-10, 240-pound front-court player from N'Djamena, Chad. He moved to the United States for high school and is currently living in the Bronx while attending Our Savior Lutheran school.
Kouma averaged 14.3 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks as a senior, earning Great Atlantic Conference North Division I second-team accolades. He had a standout performance at the Kyrie Irving Invitational at Barclays Center, totaling game highs of 29 points and 17 rebounds against Roselle Catholic.
Kouma was coached by Peter Wehye at Our Savior Lutheran and played AAU with the New York Lightning. He began his prep career at Redemption Christian Academy in Northfield, Mass. Kouma posted a tweet on Thursday from his signing ceremony.
"We are excited to officially welcome Bernard Kouma to the Fighting Illini family," Underwood said in a statement. "Bernard is a hard worker who has really improved during his years in the U.S. He is a skilled big who is a terrific rebounder, can use either hand around the basket, passes it well, and has become a physical presence as his body has developed. He will strengthen our frontcourt with his ability to impact the game at both ends of the court."
Kouma joins center Kofi Cockburn, a consensus top-50 recruit, in the Class of 2019. Illinois still has two open scholarship spots for the class.
Illinois is looking to improve on a 12-21 season in which it went 7-13 in Big Ten play. The two big man recruits should help improve the minus-3.5 rebounding margin last season. Giorgi Bezhanishvili led Illinois with 5.2 rebounds per game.