Ayo Dosunmu: Future of Illini PG More Uncertain than Ever


With all of college sports shut down now for the time being, a lot of questions persist. When will they restart? How does this effect recruiting and NBA Draft early entry? What will happen with the NBA Draft exploratory process? The Combine?

Will there even be a combine or a draft? Illinois sophomore point guard Ayo Dosunmu is someone for whom all these questions definitely apply. He had an opportunity to potentially pursue the next level last off-season, and he will, at least in theory or on paper, have another chance this off-season. The Morgan Park high school graduate has very high NBA Draft stock, but his hometown of Chicago, which hosts the combine every year, might not. After all, the combine is in early May, and the way things are right now, that seems pretty soon in terms of returning to normalcy.

ayo dosunmu

Then again the draft, in a drastically scaled down, highly altered form, is one of the very few sporting events that can still be held for the time being.

The future of Ayo Dosunmu came up on Friday during the end of the farewell to the season press conference that Brad Underwood and Josh Whitman held. 

“You’re talking about a young man who was getting ready to perform on the stage that he loved the most, and that was the big stage,” said Underwood in reference to the NCAA Tournament bid that the Illini earned, but won’t get to utilize.

“My love for Ayo runs well beyond what you guys could even imagine. There’s a young man who loved this university, wanted to see it get back to where he knows it belongs — he and I had an unbelievably common link in terms of wanting to see this thing grow, and I mean, his pride is second to none, and his ability to work, and I’ve said it many, many times, I’ve not been around a player as committed to success and work as Ayo is.”

“That’s not just on the court. I mean, he’s handled himself off the court in the academic endeavors, he’s
handled that off the court with his social habits, at a top-self level, and that has helped get us to this point.”

I’m sure you’re getting sick of hearing this, but it’s absolutely true. The situation in our country is changing by the day, and in some cases even by the hour. The newsroom buzzword is “fluid” and that’s exactly where we are.

So we’ll see if there is a draft, if NBA teams will hold meetings and workouts or not, and go from there in regards to whether or not Ayo Dosunmu comes back to Illinois for his junior year.

“I think everything is up in the air with the NBA,” Underwood continued.

What’s going to happen with their season, what’s going to happen with the combine, what’s going to happen with the
draft. I think everything is — at this point we’ve seen the power of sport, and it’s at all levels.

brad underwood

“I mean, The Masters was postponed. I mean, we’ve seen all of spring training. We’ve seen NHL, we’ve seen NBA, we’ve seen the XFL. We’ve seen so many things happen. So, I think sport is a powerful thing, and in AYO’s case, we’ll be there to support him in any way we can.”

Dosunmu’s ability to close games out, to be the finisher who can take the big shot in crunch time, will no doubt help make him a strong pro prospect once we have time and energy to spend on such things again.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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