Mocs Must Defend Nation’s Top Big Man in Illinois 7-Footer Kofi Cockburn

Chattanooga-(WDEF-TV) The Mocs must tackle the best center in America when they face Illinois in the Big Dance. 7-footer Kofi Cockburn was just named first team All-American for the second year in-a-row. The burden of defending Cockburn falls on Mocs big man Silvio De Sousa, who oddly enough faced Cockburn in high school.

In one corner, you have Silvio De Sousa. 6-9, 250. In the other, it’s Kofi Cockburn. 7-foot. 285.

Said Sousa: “It’s a battle of kings. That’s how I look at it. Whoever comes out with the victory. That’s what matters the most.”

Reporter: “What have you noticed that’s different about Kofi from when you faced him in high school to where he is now.”

Said Sousa: “His physical has gotten better. He looks to me like he has gained more muscle. He’s looking a lot more like a pro player.”

Cockburn is averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds a game. And oh yeah, he’s hitting 60-percent of his shots.

Reporter: “If you had to give Silvio a piece of advice about playing against Kofi Cockburn, what what would it be?”

Said Mocs guard Darius Banks: “I would just say we’ve been practicing all week. Do your work early. He’s going to be physical, but you’ve got to do your work early. Make sure you keep him off the boards. Just dominate.”

Reporter: “Is it true that Kofi Cockburn is bigger than your team bus?”

Said guard Malachi Smith: “I don’t know about all of that, but he’s a big man. He’s a great player. Great skill. He’s just a freak of nature.”

Despite the Illinois monster center, the Mocs still must attack the paint.

Said Smith: “We’re not scared of nobody. We’re playing everybody the same way. He’s a great player so you have to bring a certain level of physicality to the game, but we’re not. Just because he’s bigger, we’re not shying away from that or judging him as any different. He’s still a human like anyone else.”

Mocs face Illinois Friday evening at 6:45 in Pittsburgh. The game will be televised on TNT.

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