Could Chicago Bulls target former Ayo Dosunmu college teammate in NBA Draft?

Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

While March Madness is coming its conclusion this weekend, the Chicago Bulls could look at a player who’s dance is over.

The No. 4 Illinois Fighting Illini’s dance has been over since the second round after they were ousted by the No. 5 Houston Cougars. Illinois were ran off the court, 68-53, and now their prospective draft picks are left to make their case in media interviews and at the combine.

The media tour has already started for some. Illinois big man Kofi Cockburn sat down with FanSided’s Mark Carman to talk about the season and potentially being picked up by the Chicago Bulls.

And you know what? It’s totally plausible. The Bulls badly need an imposing force in their frontcourt, and one of the team’s current rookies has experience playing with Cockburn in college.

Cockburn played at Illinois with Ayo Dosunmu. He already has great chemistry with Dosunmu and would fill a role Chicago desperately needs. With the Bulls struggling to keep teams off the glass and Tristan Thompson potentially mulling over retirement, Chicago will need to find an interior threat to back up Nikola Vucevic (or his replacement). Cockburn could very well be that player.

Will the Bulls consider drafting Illinois big man Kofi Cockburn?

Cockburn was Illinois’ X-factor all season. He’s a 7-foot center who protects the paint and finishes well around the rim. He emerged as the Illini’s leader this season and was the only player in college basketball to average over 20 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Since being eliminated, Cockburn has embraced possibly entering the draft, though he has two more years of NCAA eligibility. In his interview, he gushed at the thought of being reunited with Dosunmu, and staying in the state of Illinois altogether.

"“I would love it, man,” Cockburn told Carman. “I was just talking with Ayo Dosunmu yesterday on the phone and we basically spoke on that. I was just telling him that would be insane if we reunited in Chicago. I think that would be big time. I love Chicago, I love the state of Illinois.”"

Cockburn’s passion for the University of Illinois, the state, and his teammates is evident in his play on the court. The brightest aspect of Cockburn’s game as it concerns Chicago is his hustle. He’s one of those players who never lets up. His constant hustle makes him a valuable asset down low. It’s one thing to be possess size, and but an entirely different beast to have size and be active. Vucevic is big, but he isn’t nearly as active as more athletic bigs, and it shows in the Bulls’ interior defense. Thompson is active, but he isn’t the biggest center out there. Cockburn is the perfect combination coming out of college.

The Bulls are currently are projected to have the 27th pick in the NBA Draft if the season were to end today, but it’s unclear where Cockburn might be selected should he declare. We’ll have to wait and see because that could change the complexion of some mock drafts out there.

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