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Catching up: Kofi Cockburn plans some visits

The Jamaican big man is looking at some fall plans, which don’t include a visit to St. John’s. Yet.

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While it may not be time to sound any alarms, it is intriguing that, per Adam Zagoria, that Kofi Cockburn is taking four visits (which may not be official visits, despite some other accounts) to Kentucky, Connecticut, Florida State and Illinois.

Cockburn, 6’11” and 302 pounds at this weekend’s Nike Skills Academy, excelled in the sometimes-helter-skelter style of summer play for the NY Rens. He grabbed 28% of available defensive rebounds, 14% of offensive rebounds — strong levels that compare favorably to the summer league numbers of former Seton Hall big man Angel Delgado. Cockburn took on a heavy offensive load (30% of the team’s shots) and connected on 54% of his shots inside the arc.

The big man, formerly at Christ the King in Queens and now at Oak Hill Academy, has already visited St. John’s — not an official visit — and seems to be leaning towards a longer recruitment and signing in the Spring.

Cockburn does not yet have a scholarship offer from Kentucky.

The Johnnies have a number of intriguing targets that they are focused on, such as 6’6” Scottie Lewis and 6’8” Precious Achiuwa, five-star prospects like Cockburn. The Red Storm are getting a visit from 6’2” guard James Bishop, are in the running for 6’2” Jalen Gaffney and have long been in pursuit of Aidan Igiehon, a 6’10” forward who is also on the edge of five-star status.

But Cockburn, who has adapted quickly to the game since moving from Jamaica, is an important recruit for Chris Mullin and his staff.

One thing about Kofi Cockburn is that he is massive, a level of size St. John’s has not enjoyed in a long time. In and of itself, a massive human on the basketball court isn’t always a good thing — massive humans tend to struggle to keep up with the action, they fall hard and make big booms, and in the modern game, big men often do not get precious seconds to work their big frames into inexorable position.

Last season, Kassoum Yakwe got the start in December, in part to defend the aforementioned Delgado. Fans watched Tariq Owens struggle to hold space in the middle, creating what ended up being a five-out offense. Georgetown’s bigs, Creighton’s bigs, DePaul’s big man and Xavier’s big man all gave the Johnnies problems.

This season and next, the Red Storm have a big man in Sedee Keita who should be able to run with the guards and wings, and Josh Roberts and Marcellus Earlington should be able to give minutes, despite both being undersized (Roberts is slim, the 6’5” Earlington will be short for his position).

Other than that, the team is a quartet of guards (Greg Williams Jr., Mikey Dixon, Bryan Trimble, Jr. and Justin Simon) and a bunch of wings sitting out (Mustapha Heron, unless deemed immediately eligible by the NCAA), David Caraher and Eli Wright, along with LJ Figueroa.

Someone will need to rebound. Despite all that attacking talent, the interior is the portion of the court where the staff has to adjust the most, send players scrambling in to help, and are ineffective on offense when not in transition.

Can the Johnnies get the official visit out of Cockburn in the fall or Spring? Could they land a top-30 player and game-changing big man?

We will, as always, be tracking.