Brad Underwood coaches from the sidelines and speaks to his team in a game for Illinois
CHAMPAIGN, IL - JANUARY 18: Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Brad Underwood looks across the court to Illinois Fighting Illini center Kofi Cockburn (21) during the Big Ten Conference college basketball game between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Illinois Fighting Illini on January 18, 2020, at the State Farm Center in Champaign, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Illinois’ Brad Underwood Details Kofi Cockburn’s Return and the Big Ten Gauntlet

Think back for a moment to the 2021 Big Ten Basketball Tournament in Downtown Indianapolis.

Remember how fun that was? From how physical it got, to the clutch shots, to fans being inside Lucas Oil Stadium; That was truly the prequel to what was a historic NCAA Tournament.

Now to be fair, the gauntlet of action probably cost the Big Ten in the long run a shot at a National Championship.

Ohio State looked tired against Oral Roberts. Michigan State didn’t have it against UCLA. And Illinois showed a number one seed couldn’t get it done versus Loyola Chicago.

Will that be the case again in 2022? That’s to be determined.

But one thing is for sure, and that thing is Brad Underwood’s Illinois Fighting Illini team isn’t going anywhere.

Mostly because this guy is back.

Kofi Cockburn is only 21-years-old still. And Underwood knows what he can bring to the table. Coach jumped on The Dan Dakich Show Wednesday afternoon to chat with DD on the future of his program.

“When you get to a level like the Big Ten it’s hard to win,” Underwood said. “I don’t want to be the coach that just has a sense of relief to win. I want to have fun. And because we work hard, we enjoy that moment and relish it. And I’ve said it many times about Kofi. He’s got a lot of game and that’s going to continue growing. From year one to year two with him, we had no off-season due to COVID. But now he’s going to keep enhancing his game.”

What team in the Big Ten is going to be stupid enough to mess with Cockburn in the paint?

Nobody is the correct answer.

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