How Ayo Dosunmu Became a Dominant Closer


ayo dosunmu

The Indiana Hoosiers were unranked and coming off a humiliating defeat at the hands of their greatest rival. Still they refused to go away until one Illinois Fighting Illini made a huge three that would ultimately prove critical to the final result.

You already know who it is- Ayo Dosunmu, the sophomore from Chicago who has been captain clutch for the orange and blue this season. You saw it at Wisconsin, versus Rutgers and Northwestern, at Michigan (probably his finest hour) Minnesota, at Penn State (another classic example) and of course today.


Dosunmu discussed why he always feels so confident in being the man who takes the big shot during crunch time:

“I feel like I put the work in so when the moment comes I’m just confident that I make the best play to help the team win.”

As Ayo stated, he did his basketball homework. He did the preparation so that he can pass the test. We also asked him how he developed the ice water in his veins when the game is on the line.

“It’s a mentality that all basketball players want to have, me growing up watching Kobe Bryant, not just him but pretty much all the great players in the NBA, watching them close games out, but also failure plays a huge impact in that,” Ayo Dosunmu responded.

“Losing in high school, championship games and even AAU. There have been times when I didn’t close out and my senior year there were like six, seven games I didn’t close out, I couldn’t close out.”

“Going through situations like that prepared me for now when I’m in situations like that I fall back on my preparation.”

The Morgan Park graduate is averaging 19 points per game, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.8 assists over his last 12.

He was asked about any kind of visions he might have had about making big shots like this, and how he would react to making them.

ayo dosunmu

“I’m pretty sure all hoopers around the world envision making shots like that, but it’s just an instinct, my passion is coming out,” the team’s leading scorer and assist maker said.

“I don’t have a particular, specific celebration, sometimes like ice in the veins but when it happens so fast and the crowd is so loud, I just go off my emotion.”

Illini Head Coach Brad Underwood said that he definitely envisioned Ayo developing into a true closer, and he saw those traits when he was recruiting him:

“He’s a winner, he won a couple state titles in high school, he always had the ball in those moments, the end of the quarter, end of the half. Some guys have a knack for it, and he does.”

“Obviously his confidence has grown in these situations because he’s done three, four, five times last year for us.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News NowBanks, 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 and Chicago on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link


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