Bilas: Ayo Dosunmu Should Go Somewhere Around #20 in the Draft


Forget the fact that he was completely AWOL and totally MIA in his final collegiate game, the horrific disaster that was Illinois basketball in their second round out of the NCAA Tournament at the hands of Loyola. The Masked Mamba, Ayo Dosunmu was still the USA Today Player of the Year.

It’s hard to predict where Dosunmu will go Thursday night because the NBA Draft isn’t really about selecting the best basketball player. Sounds silly to say, but it’s true.

The NBA Draft has long been a beauty pageant for boys, where measurables take precedence over accomplishment, but in recent years this has gotten even more obnoxious.

If the entertainment value of consuming NBA Draft content seems to be diminishing to you, well, you’re not alone. Consuming more college basketball doesn’t always make you more familiar with who will get selected on draft night. It’s way more about combine stuff than what’s done on the court these days.

Dosunmu is lauded for having great handles, creative shot-making ability, tremendous passing and vastly improved shooting.

As Ayo Dosunmu draft stock is a topic we have covered extensively the past three years, you can go here, here and here for more on this subject matter.


Now it’s time to hear what ESPN’s Jay Bilas, who did a media Zoom call today on the topic of the draft. 

“It’s kind of interesting, Ayo was arguably the best point guard in college basketball last year during the regular season,” said Bilas.

“And obviously they got bounced out pretty early by Loyola Chicago in the tournament when as a No. 1 seed they were expected to go further. I certainly expected them to go further.

“But it shows the strength of this draft that he’s considered a player around 20 or later because he’s still the same player.

“He’s a guy that averaged 20 a game, five assists. He’s a creator. He’s got a really good first step. He can handle the ball. He can separate a little bit, and he’s a good isolation player and just fantastic in transition. And he’s got a really good motor. He plays hard and plays hard at both ends.

ayo dosunmu

“I think he’s still got — I say still. I think he’s got value in this draft. Really good value. I think he’s a lottery type talent in most drafts that could get pushed down a little bit because this is an extraordinarily good draft.”

Bilas provided a very interesting answer to the follow up question asked by a reporter:

“How do you feel like he was able to maybe utilize that third year at Illinois to answer questions about his game or maybe show off kind of fully what he can do?”

Bilas answered: “It’s helpful. I think it was really helpful for him to come back, but I don’t want to make it sound like that’s the only option.

“I think one of the things about today’s game that fans especially but all of us, too, need to wrap their heads around is we used to look at the G-League or other things as kind of a detriment, that if you go into the draft and go to the G-League, that’s some kind of a problem.

“It’s not. You can develop at a really high level at the G-League and develop really quickly. It’s just you’re developing kind of further out of view than college.

“In college all our eyeballs are on that, especially us, who consider that a big deal.

“But Ayo coming back I think and playing the role that he did and having that extra year, whether it was in college, the G-League, whatever, was really helpful to his development and his maturity as a player, and I certainly thought much higher of him last year than I did the year before, and my guess is after another couple years, I’ll think he’s even better in continuing to watch him.

To see where we have Ayo Dosunmu going in our NBA mock draft go here.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated and the  Chicago Tribune.

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