Cockburn is simply the best big man that the Illinois program has ever seen. He is physically dominant, bullying his opponents under the rim, and scoring pretty much at will. He was phenomenal last season in his sophomore campaign, averaging 17.7 points and 9.5 rebounds while earning second-team All-America honors. Every team that the Illini face will be keying in on trying to stop him, which will open up opportunities for some of the other stars on this team.
Transfer athlete Omar Payne will likely be Cockburn's backup now that Bezhanishvili has moved on to the NBA. Payne is not a great scorer, not even a good scorer. But he provides some great defense for the team, and averaged 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks at Florida last season according to ESPN. He can play at both center and power forward, but it's PF where he is best at.
Lastly, Coleman Hawkins is still on the roster, and one of his biggest strengths is his ability to pass the ball as a big man. He's an excellent passer, and can hit the occasional three-pointer if he gets wide open. In his limited playing time, I have liked what I saw from him.
Ayo Dosunmu is gone, which is a huge loss. Andre Curbelo, the freshman sensation last year, flashed star potential in his playing time. He will take over Dosunmu's role as the primary ball-handler. Curbelo averaged 9.1 points, 4.2 assists and 4.0 rebounds last year, earning him Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year and All-Freshman honors. Meanwhile, sophomore Adam Miller transferred to LSU.
Trent Frazier and Da'Monte Williams are back because they were offered a bonus year due to COVID-19 complications when the 2019 season was cut short. Frazier is a great scorer, but his real strength is his defense. He is one of the best defensive guards in the country, locking down anyone he guards. Williams is a great 3-point splasher, but also plays strong defense, and can rebound as well.