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
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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.”
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September 16, 2021 | 8:36 pm EDT Update
Keith Smith: The Shanghai Sharks have signed former NBAers Jimmer Fredette and Noah Vonleh. This will be Fredette’s 5th season with Shanghai. He last played in the NBA in 2019 with the Phoenix Suns. Vonleh was briefly with the Brooklyn Nets last season. This is his first season with Shanghai.
NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo was in Greece for a meeting with the country’s prime minister Thursday and a special ceremony to bestow Greek citizenship on his mother Veronica and younger brother Alex. Antetokounmpo, who led the Milwaukee Bucks to the NBA championship in July, attended the ceremony at the official residence of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The 26-year-old Antetokounmpo was born in Athens, the son of Nigerian immigrants. He was granted Greek citizenship in 2013, allowing him to travel to the United States and join the Bucks later that year.
“We always felt Greek, but now we have an official stamp and we are happy,” Antetokounmpo told reporters after the ceremony. “Alex and my mom are Greek citizens now.” Antetokounmpo also traveled to Greece in August with his brother Thanassis, carrying the Larry O’Brien NBA championship trophy. He took the trophy to the ancient Acropolis in Athens to celebrate with members of his family.
September 16, 2021 | 8:07 pm EDT Update
Keith Smith: Cleaning up some loose ends on TPEs for the Boston Celtics… The Celtics used the Daniel Theis $5M TPE to acquire Kris Dunn in the three-team deal with the Hawks and Kings. That leaves Boston with five current TPEs. Those TPEs and expiration dates are in the next tweet. 1/2