Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu announced Friday he is withdrawing his name from the NBA draft and returning to the Fighting Illini for his junior season. “Since a kid, I’ve been working, my dream is to play in the NBA. But first, I need that national championship,” Dosunmu said in a video posted to Twitter. “Year 3.”
Still, if the shot comes along, there is reason to believe in him as a potential first round pick in 2021. Dosunmu averaged 16.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists, but more than that, he was the closer for an Illinois team that looked poised to potentially make a deep NCAA Tournament run. He hit more big shots this season to either win games or ice them than any player in the country. In the last five minutes, you knew he was getting the ball, and he just methodically got to his spot in the middle of the floor — particularly around the right elbow — and hit shot after shot. He’s a blur in transition, where his natural athletic gifts play up. Defensively, he plays hard and takes on tough assignments at both guard spots. Sources around basketball are also quick to note that Dosunmu is known to have a terrific work ethic and motor. He’s constantly in the gym, and has a real positive competitiveness to the way he approaches the game. He’s the kind of kid that teams are easily going to be able to sell themselves on once he fixes those skill-based issues.
The NBA is his future, and he took a step toward that dream by declaring as an early entrant for this year’s draft last month. “Definitely the outlook would be me leaning toward going pro because that’s what I’m working toward,” Ayo Dosunmu said. “That’s my goal at the end of the day, to play in the NBA and work as hard as I can to be picked as high as possible. Of course, I didn’t sign with an agent because there’s so many uncertainties, but if everything goes the right way and everything gets back on track, of course I’ll be staying in the draft and working out to be the best player I can be.”
The lottery and combine — both originally scheduled for this month — have been postponed. That’s left the door at least cracked open for Dosunmu to return to Illinois for a third season. “There’s always a possibility,” he said. “That’s why I haven’t signed with an agent yet. There’s so much uncertainty I don’t know and we don’t know. It would be foolish for me to say I’m signing with an agent without knowing what could happen tomorrow or what could happen next week.”
Illinois star Ayo Dosunmu declared for the NBA draft Wednesday evening, making the announcement with a video posted on his Twitter account. The sophomore guard can receive feedback from NBA teams and return to Illinois if he withdraws before the NCAA’s June 3 deadline for maintaining eligibility.
Illinois freshman guard Ayo Dosunmu announced via his Twitter account Thursday that he will be returning to school. “I stayed home to help [Head] Coach [Brad] Underwood turn the Illinois program around,” said Dosunmu in his video statement. “We beat some ranked teams this season. We tasted some success, but we didn’t dance. Illinois needs to dance.”
Craig Choate: Just left the #Illini end of season banquet. Ayo Dosunmu declined interviews until he “figures out what he’s going to do”. He’s got until 11:59 pm on April 21st to enter the NBA draft.
Ayo Dosunmu’s father told the Tribune in February that his son likely would test the NBA draft waters but would listen to advice from scouts before making a decision. Dosunmu avoided answering questions about his plans to evaluate his NBA potential. “I’m not focused on it,” he said. “I’m focused on playing together and getting bigger and stronger in the offseason.”
July 5, 2022 | 9:54 am EDT Update
Fred Katz: People I talk to around the league expect the Knicks to get dinged for tampering. They started dumping salary for Brunson on draft night. They continued their offloading five days later, 48 hours before free agency even began. They had let go of almost $33 million by the time they could talk to Brunson. You reported two days before free agency that he was heading to New York.
Fred Katz: From what I’ve gathered, the Mavericks are quite frustrated with the Knicks — and not just because reports of a finished deal came out before New York was even allowed to speak with Brunson (though I am not sure how tampering rules account for father-son relationships, and this situation involves two of those). Dallas wasn’t thrilled about Knicks executive William “World Wide Wes” Wesley showing up courtside to a Mavs-Jazz playoff game, either.
July 5, 2022 | 8:55 am EDT Update
BasketNews: Boban dunking without even jumping is truly a sight for our eyes 😅 #FIBAWC #WinForAll pic.twitter.com/r2JBJbLRZO
July 5, 2022 | 5:38 am EDT Update
The Sacramento Kings looked back at a player selected in the 2017 NBA Draft with only the 57th pick. The Brooklyn Nets chose this player, but his rights were transferred to the Cleveland Cavaliers during the blockbuster James Harden trade. No other team was as excited as the Kings. Talking with BasketNews, Vezenkov admitted – he’s the closest to the NBA he’s ever been. “I knew the Kings were interested in me, they watched me play during the season,” Vezenkov said. “I wasn’t sure when or how this was going to turn out. I’m telling everybody now that all I know and all I’m happy about is that my rights belong to a team that is interested in me. The Kings show the attention and want to see me.”