Let’s cut to the chase right now and say that Kofi Cockburn is the National Player of the Year, and it’s not even close.
What Cockburn is doing right now is beyond amazing. Comparing Cockburn’s play to the last two National Players of the Year, Cockburn is outperforming the stats of Luka Garza and is neck and neck with the stats of Obi Toppin.
Toppin averaged two more points than Kofi, but Kofi has the greater rebound average.
Cockburn is Coming for NPOY
Currently on the season, Cockburn is averaging 22.5 points per game and 12.5 rebounds per game. These numbers are very comparable to one Shaquille O’Neal when he was in college.
At LSU, O’Neal averaged 27.6 points per game and 14.7 rebounds per game. With the way Cockburn is playing right now, he may be able to match up with O’Neal’s numbers.
Last night was the point and case of why the National Player of the Year case is not even close.
Cockburn only played eight minutes in the first half of last night’s game. Two egregious foul calls on Cockburn sent him to the bench early, where he sat for the rest of the first half.
I could sit here and write about the foul calls and how Cockburn does not get what he was called for last night, but that is a whole different topic for another day.
Second Half Emergence
Illinois struggled last night in the first half without Cockburn. Everything on the offensive side runs through him. His touches in the paint have gone way up since a year ago. His comfortability around the rim is noticeably different and much of the reason as to why he is scoring so well. His ability to pass out of the post is a significant change he made in the offseason.
No one has an answer right now for the big man.
At the half, Cockburn had seven points and three rebounds. After being caught under the rim and being hung on by a Maryland player, it was all over from there.
Cockburn erupted in the second half with 16 points and 15 rebounds, bringing down the house with a few big slams. In the second half alone last night, Cockburn outrebounded the Maryland team. Maryland could only grab ten boards in the second half last night.
Last night happened to be Ayo Dosunmu night for Illinois as Dosunmu’s jersey was lifted to the rafters at the State Farm Center. Chicago Bull teammate Demar Derozan made the trip down and joined Dosunmu and his family for the ceremony. On Dosunmu’s night, it was Cockburns’s game that stood out.
Cockburn’s Odds to win NPOY
Fox College Hoops put out a graphic of the current odds to win the Men’s Player of the Year award. Currently, Ohio State’s E.J. Liddell has the best odds at +450. The list continues with Drew Timme from Gonzaga is second with +600, joined by Paolo Banchero of Duke at +600. Ochai Agbaji of Kansas is third with +800 odds, and then Cockburn follows with +1200 odds. The final player on the list is Jayden Ivey of Purdue with +1200 odds as well.
My opinion may be biased, but it also has facts and stats to back it up.
There is not a single player on this list that could contain or guard Cockburn. Cockburn is scoring at will when he wants and is dominating the game of college basketball.
Looking at the points per game leaders, Keegan Murray of Iowa leads the nation in scoring at 24.5 points per game. Murray was slowed down against Illinois, only scoring 19 points.
This is a hill I will die on and will argue until my head turns blue.
Kofi Cockburn deserves more recognition at the national level. This is a campaign that started long ago, but Kofi Cockburn is your National Player of the Year, and it’s not even close.