Illinois Basketball: Brad Underwood going after another center for 2023

Nov 22, 2021; Kansas City, MO, USA; A Illinois Fighting Illini fan shows her support against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the second half at T-Mobile Center. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 22, 2021; Kansas City, MO, USA; A Illinois Fighting Illini fan shows her support against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the second half at T-Mobile Center. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /
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Illinois basketball is focusing on building out the No. 5 spot in the near future.

Kofi Cockburn is likely to be departing after this season, and after he leaves the Illini, there isn’t much behind him as far as a starting-caliber big man is concerned.

Brad Underwood and his coaching staff clearly see the hole that Kofi would leave, so they are trying to find answers in the recruiting game. One of those answers could end up being Kachi Nzeh.

On Tuesday, Nzeh retweeted the Tweet from Phenom Hoops National Recruiting Scout, Patrick O’Brien, that announced he had received a scholarship offer from Illinois.


Nzeh is a 6-foot-8, 210-pound center from the George School and resides in Newtown, Pennsylvania. He isn’t rated or ranked in the class of 2023 just yet, but the scholarship offers are starting to pile up. He has roughly 11 offers on the table right now with some of the bigger programs being Maryland, Iowa, and Creighton.

Nzeh would give the Illinois basketball program versatility.

The great part about Nzeh’s game is the fact he could play multiple positions for the Illini. He isn’t just a No. 5, but he can play both the traditional center position and the No. 4 spot. This gives Brad Underwood so much flexibility.

I love the pure athletic ability Nzeh brings to the table as well. He can jump out of the gym, which makes him a nightmare to guard. I think there is a rawness about his game on both ends of the court, but Underwood can develop this kid into a strong Big Ten player.

The future is uncertain when it comes to paint-play for the Orange and Blue. After Kofi, it is a scary world. But if we can pull in players like Nzeh to help stabilize the frontcourt, then everything should end up being okay.

Next. Illini fans are getting to see two different eras collide in the NBA. dark