EVANSTON — Not but an hour after another tough loss for the University of Illinois men's basketball team, big news arrived in a 6-foot-11 package.
Five-star center Kofi Cockburn announced his verbal commitment to the Illini via Twitter.
Cockburn is a 6-foot-11, 280-pound center, who Rivals ranks as the No. 31 player in the Class of 2019. He's the second verbal commitment of the 2019 class, along with big man Antwan January. Cockburn plays for Oak Hill Academy, where he's averaging 15.3 points and 9.9 rebounds.
"I want to thank everyone who's recruited me," Cockburn said to Andrew Slater of The Athletic. "It hasn't been an easy decision, but I have chosen to commit to the University of Illinois.
"I'm excited about joining the family. No one has worked harder than Coach Underwood and his staff. They have great and support. They're building it in the right way with a good young core. The visit was a great one.'
"I really enjoyed the guys on the team and the culture. Coach Underwood told me that it was going to be hard — it wasn't going to be easy — and that he really wanted to coach me.
"I'm ready to compete as soon as I step on campus. He and I want that challenge of bringing back Illinois to winning championships! I'm looking forward to recruiting other players to come to Illinois with me. I can't wait to play in the Big 10 and restore Illinois to what it once was. Go Fighting Illini!"
Cockburn took his official visit to Illinois last week, and was in attendance for the loss against Florida Atlantic.