After Illinois lost to Loyola Chicago in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday, head coach Brad Underwood said junior guard Ayo Dosunmu will take the “next step” in his career — presumably to the NBA Draft
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 27, 2021 | 9:31 pm EDT Update
Joseph Hoyt: Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd confirms that Igor Kokoskov is on his way to join the Dallas coaching staff. Kidd said Kokoskov, a former coach of Mavs star Luka Doncic, will be a great coaching teammate. Said he’s in that offensive genius category of coaching.
Scott Agness: Steve Gansey — the former Mad Ants (and summer Pacers) head coach — is in Atlanta to finalize a deal to become the head coach of the Hawks’ G League team (College Park Skyhawks), league sources said. The job would reunite him with Nate McMillan.
More Than a Vote, the organization launched a year ago by prominent Black athletes and entertainers to protect African Americans’ voting rights, is launching a campaign focused on the nation’s criminal justice system. The campaign, called Protect Our People, kicked off Monday with an episode of the HBO series “The Shop,” which is produced by the basketball star LeBron James and Maverick Carter, Mr. James’s close friend and business partner. Mr. James was among the charter members of More Than a Vote.
U.S. Rep. Michelle Steel of Orange County is asking Congress to designate Aug. 24 as “Kobe Bryant Day.” The Republican congresswoman introduced legislation to honor the late basketball legend, who died in a helicopter crash in January last year, along with his daughter and seven others. Aug. 24 was chosen to pay tribute to the two jersey numbers — 8 and 24 — that Bryant wore during his 20-season career.
“Kobe Bryant used his platform to inspire millions and help kids around the world achieve success and strive for greatness. On August 24th we should remember Kobe, celebrate his life, and encourage the next generation to dream big just like Kobe did,” Steel said in a statement.
July 27, 2021 | 7:57 pm EDT Update
Tony Jones: The Oklahoma City Thunder are not expected to extend a qualifying offer to center Tony Bradley, League Sources tell The Athletic, making him an unrestricted free agent. Bradley, a former Jazz, is expected to have multiple teams interested in him on the open market