Illinois Basketball: Kofi Cockburn out against Maryland

Illinois basketball is going to have to find a way to win without their All-American, Kofi Cockburn.

On Friday morning, Jeff Goodman of Stadium reported that Illini big man Kofi will miss the Maryland game due to a concussion he suffered in the Purdue matchup on Monday. He also reports that Kofi’s status for the tilt against Michigan State on Tuesday is “up in the air” as well.

This is heartbreaking news on two accounts. One, a concussion is a serious thing, and Kofi should take as much time as he needs to get healthy. Two, we just got our team back healthy for the first time in months and now we are back on the mend again.

Illinois basketball might have an answer to replace Kofi Cockburn.

It is disappointing that Illinois is going to be without Kofi for the Maryland game. It is weird that Kofi was on the one who was in foul trouble and fouled out of the game, but he took the biggest beating from the two Purdue big men who had a combined four fouls.

With that being said, Illinois really only has two options at the No. 5 spot on Friday night. Omar Payne was brought in for situations like this. But he has been slightly disappointing this season on the offensive end of the court. His defense is okay because of his length, but Payne is an offensive liability.

I am currently leaning on Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk as the starter at the No. 5 spot. He played well against Purdue in 20 minutes of action. Verdonk was by far the most impressive big man for Illinois in that game.

I want to see a starting lineup of Andre Curbelo, Trent Frazier, Alfonso Plummer, Jacob Grandison, and Verdonk against the Terrapins. I think this lineup gives us the best chance to win the game.