Everyone knows this Illinois basketball team we are about to see is going to be one of the best groups of players to step foot on the State Farm Center floor.
With so much attention following a great 2019-20 campaign, the Illini have most of the roster returning for one last run. Some of the players on the team are getting national recognition as well.
On Tuesday, Jon Rothstein, CBS Sports college insider, posted his preseason All-Americans for the upcoming campaign. The first team is pretty loaded with Jared Butler (Baylor), Remy Martin (Arizona State), Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma State) and Luka Garza (Iowa) all donning the list. Who was the final piece of the first team?
Ayo Dosunmu (Illinois)
That is right, Rothstein believes Ayo is a first-team All-American player, and I can’t argue against him. Averaging 16.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game as a sophomore, Ayo returns for his junior year after passing up on the NBA Draft.
Ayo led Illinois to a 21-10 season where they finished in the top four in the Big Ten with a conference record of 13-7. Slotted in the double-bye position in the conference tournament and a sure-thing for the Big Dance, a worldwide pandemic struck ruining the finish to the college basketball season.
A part of that great run last season was the other dominant force for the program, Kofi Cockburn. Averaging 13.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game as a true freshman, Kofi wasn’t just one of the best players in the Big Ten, he was one of the best players in the country. This brings me to my next question.
Where is Kofi on the list of preseason All-Americans?
When you scroll down to see the second-team and third-team All-Americans, there is only one more Big Ten player who made the list and that is Trayce Jackson-Davis, a great young talent from Indiana. But Kofi is a glaring miss for the college basketball insider.
On the third-team is Evan Mobley, a 6-foot-11, 205-pound center who will just be a true freshman this upcoming season. The USC youngster will be really good, as he was the No. 3 player coming out of the class of 2020, but he is still a true freshman. The numbers Kofi put up in year one will only increase in year two. He should be on Rothstein’s preseason All-American list.
Regardless of who was snubbed from the preseason All-American list, Illinois has a great team and people are taking notice. Illini fans need to strap in for one of the best years in a long time.