Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu announced Friday he is withd…

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.”

More on Ayo Dosunmu Going Pro?

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.”
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.”
Storyline: Ayo Dosunmu Going Pro?
More HoopsHype Rumors
January 27, 2021 | 8:36 pm EST Update
Attempts to grow closer as a team are confronting a world in which proximity to teammates is both dangerous and prohibited. As a result, NBA players and staffs have been reduced to distant conversations through face masks, and a road life dominated by individual screens rather than collective camaraderie. “The reality is that you can’t do stuff like that anymore,” Haslem said. “Those opportunities don’t exist.” In Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner’s words: “It’s a bubble within a bubble.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
STARTING AN AVERAGE day on the road, an NBA player must now wake up as early as 7:30 a.m. to be tested before a practice or shootaround, depending on the market. He then returns to his room to catch another hour or so of sleep, or to busy himself with a video game, an episode of a series or maybe a FaceTime session with family back home. A couple of hours later, he reports downstairs to board the team bus. The wait in the lobby is traditionally a time when players schmooze and hang out, but with everyone at least 6 feet apart and masked, the vibe has taken on an edgy quality.
Pre-practice strategy sessions at the hotel can no longer last more than 10 minutes. Shootaround or practice offer some normalcy, but breakfast back at the hotel in a ballroom, typically a communal ritual where players and staff yuck it up at tables for eight, now operates as a grab-and-go. Want some fresh air? Forget about taking a walk outside, even though the CDC and other leading medical institutions regard outdoor activities with the appropriate precautions as low risk.
This season, that ground rarely extends much past the door to a hotel room. The Spurs’ custom on the plane has been effectively prohibited. Under the new guidelines, players must sit next to the same guys they sit next to on the bench during games. On an off night, it’s dinners for one in the room — a far cry from the jovial dining out experience in a road city. “I think that’s hard — having options taken away,” Holiday said. “You might go to your favorite city, and have a favorite food spot that people might not know about. And that’s something that you can bring to the table, something you share, and [this season] you can’t really share that.”
January 27, 2021 | 6:50 pm EST Update
Home