Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn
The Illinois Fighting Illini will start their season at No. 8 on the AP Polls. A big reason they’re put so high is because of the return of leading scorers Ayo Dosunmu (16.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.3 apg) and Kofi Cockburn (13.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg). Last season, the dynamic duo was able to lead the Illini to a 21-10 season and were put as high as No. 21 on the AP Polls. The team was looking at a probable run in March as a 4 or 5 seed, had it not been canceled due to COVID. Together, Dosunmu and Cockburn are a great blend of size and speed. They can both run the fast break and score with swiftness or hit each other for open jump shots consistently. In addition to several returnees, incoming transfers and true freshman, Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn will be trying to lead a talented roster to a 2021 title.
Colin Gillespie and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl
Both Gillespie and Robinson-Earl have been named to the Naismith Trophy Watch List and First-Team Preseason All-Big East Picks for 2021. With high expectations, the combo will be looking to repeat or improve on last season’s solid performance. In 2019-20, the point guard/forward duo led Villanova to a 24-7 record and won a share of the Big East title last season. Gillespie averaged 15.1 points and 4.5 assists last season and Robinson-Earl averaged a double-double with 10.5 points and 9.4 rebounds. Gillespie will be the gel for this team, after truly breaking out last and becoming the leader of this Wildcat’s squad. He’s a playmaker who plays well at the pick-and-roll and is one of the best three-point shooters in college basketball. Robinson-Earl provides lots of support, crashing down on every rebound he can get and adding versatility to the team’s shooting. All eyes will be on these two as the year progresses into March; they’ll be a deadly duo that will be hard to stop.
Joe Wieskamp and Luka Garza
If there’s one name that will be heard over and over this season will be Luka Garza. As the preseason player of the year, Garza is arguably the most dominant player in college basketball. The rising senior averaged 23.9 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists in his junior season. As the No. 3 team on AP polls throughout 2019, the Hawkeyes offense ran mainly through the 6-foot-11 center. Since Garza has become one of the most efficient college basketball players, points are almost guaranteed when you give it to him in the paint. Pairing him up with a solid playmaker makes Iowa a top 10 team in the country. Junior Joe Wieskamp fits that role precisely, averaging 14.6 ppg and 6.1 rpg in 2019. The guard feeding the post was Iowa’s bread and butter last season.
D’Mitrik Trice and Nate Reuvers
The Wisconsin Badgers finished the 2019-20 college basketball season ranked No. 17 in the country and split the Big Ten title. Much of their success has come from rising seniors Trice and Reuvers. Trice, who took on a larger role last season due to the departure of Ethan Happ, proved to be a solid backbone for the team. He was Wisconsin’s leading scorer, averaging 13.1 ppg and 4.5 rpg. Trice, 6-foot-0 experienced guard, provided the stability and playmaking last year. The seniors will continue to carry on their roles through the 2020-21 season, as the talented Badgers seek a championship run.
“From Our Haus to Yours”