USC Recruiting

Five-star big man from Gamecock pipeline has USC, Frank Martin’s attention

Kofi Cockburn plays during the Peach Jam at the Riverview Park Activities Center in North Augusta.

Kofi Cockburn plays during the Peach Jam at the Riverview Park Activities Center in North Augusta.
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Kofi Cockburn plays during the Peach Jam at the Riverview Park Activities Center in North Augusta.

Kofi Cockburn drove baseline – and then on to the Internet.

There might be more highly-rated players at the 2018 Nike EYBL Peach Jam, but there’s few as literally big as the 6-foot-11, 250-pound Cockburn. When the center from New York finished a wrap-around dunk over a couple defenders Thursday morning, Court 4 at the Riverview Park Activities Center went into a frenzy.

When the slam hit Twitter, the shares began to flow. Count South Carolina coach Frank Martin among those who saw it and tapped the retweet button.

The Gamecocks have been represented here this week by Martin and his assistants Chuck Martin and Bruce Shingler. That’s three sets of eyes, barely enough to cover a physical specimen such as Cockburn.

But they’re on to him.

“He’s told me that I’m somebody he needs to come in as a freshman,” Cockburn said Friday of Frank Martin, “and try to win a championship for him.”

Cockburn, a five-star prospect ranked by Rivals as the No. 24 player in the 2019 class, powered his way through double and triple teams to score 19 points, pulled down nine rebounds and record three blocks to lead his NY Renaissance to a come-from-behind win Friday morning. The attention he draws on the court – “I don’t really see those,” he said of 1-on-1 opportunities – is similar to what he’s receiving on the recruiting trail.

Cockburn, who holds scholarship offers from the likes of Connecticut, Syracuse, Kansas and St. John’s, is planning on cutting his list to 12 after Peach Jam.

He took unofficial visits to UConn and St. John’s last month. He plans to visit Kansas and Kentucky soon.

Martin has a history of bringing players to Columbia from the New York area, including current roster members Chris Silva, Justin Minaya and Alanzo Frink.

Cockburn’s Christ the King High School won the consolation championship of the 2016 Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach.

Asked what’s important to him in choosing a school, Cockburn noted having a leadership role, being in a good environment and being in a position to “win championships.”

He ended Friday’s morning game with a windmill slam at the buzzer, perhaps sparking another viral moment.

“I’m in the gym all the time, working on my craft and stuff,” he said. “It’s always good to come out here and show people what I can do.”

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