Ayo Dosunmu Has High NBA Draft Stock, but it’s Just Not Reflected in Mock Drafts

ayo dosunmu

Illini basketball in the Brad Underwood era has finally shown signs of a pulse in the past month as the team picked up two very high quality wins over teams ranked in the top 15 at the time. Illinois has now won four of their last five, and played their way above the Wednesday night projection in the Big Ten tournament.

If the Illini can close out the season 4-3 or better, they will avoid breaking the school record for single season losses. A primary reason for the Illini surge has been the stellar play of freshman point guard Ayo Dosunmu. His rapid development has coincided with the drastic Illini improvement.

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Illini all-time leading scorer Deon Thomas joins UIC Coaching Staff

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Deon Thomas has landed a coaching gig at the University of Illinois. Just not in Urbana-Champaign. At the Chicago campus instead. When Assistant Coach Isaac Chew departed Illinois for Marquette, just weeks after he left Mizzou to join the Illini an assistant gig opened up under John Groce at Illinois.

Paris Parham filled the position instead ofFlorida State assistant Dennis Gates, Simeon Coach Robert Smith and Deon Thomas. All were considered candidates.

It was just announced minutes ago Illini fans, that Deon Thomas will be on Howard Moore’s staff at UIC.

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Big Ten football power rankings: lipstick on a pig edition

big-ten-football-colbert

During Big Ten football Saturdays like this, how do you spin what happened? How do you put lipstick on these pigs? And even though Northwestern out-gained an AWFUL Western Michigan team by just 126 yards, they’ve still earned the second slot.

You can argue that a different Big Ten football team deserves to be there. But my argument is pretty solid for NU. Also, Illinois gave up 615 yards and lost “at home,” and yet they move UP not down this week.

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Illinois basketball shafted in Tourney; NCAA changes rule yesterday

illinois basketball

Partially due to a blown call, Illinois basketball has beaten a higher seeded NCAA Tournament team just twice in school history. Trailing 57-55 with 40 seconds remaining, replays clearly showed the Illini should have maintained offensive possession on an out-of-bounds call. Instead, the ball was wrongly awarded to the Miami Hurricanes. And even a Miami player admitted it.

Now the NCAA is going to going to make sure this type of thing doesn’t happen again.

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Illini grab Seton Hall transfer Aaron Cosby: Champaign gets The Cosby Show

illini-aaron-cosby

Aaron Cosby was the Seton Hall Pirates second leading scorer during his sophomore season, averaging 12.6 points per game. After living the Big East program, he appeared to have many potential landing places. Then Aaron Cosby limited it to just the Illini and Mizzou. Well, The Cosby Show is officially coming to Illini basketball.

How’s that for “Braggin Rights,” Missouri?

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Illini basketball shows split personality in narrow NCAA victory over Colorado

ncaa-tournament-illini-basketball

This Illini basketball game was a microcosm of the entire season! In Illinois 57-49 victory over Colorado, it was like the Michigan State, Indiana games etc. all over again. This Illini basketball tourney game in which Illinois was a #7 and the Buffaloes a #10 was quite reminiscent of a 2007 NCAA Tournament game when the Illini blew a double digit lead to VaTech. The Illini ended up losing that #12 vs #5 match-up 54-52. How come the 12s-over-5s rule didn’t work for Illini basketball that time?

Illinois attempted 30 shots in the first half, 16 of them 3-pointers. They only committed three turnovers, shot 43% field goal, 38% from three and found themselves up 37-21 at half. Rather impressive offense, but I had premonitions of what was to come. This is what Illini basketball scored in their past four games: 64, 51, 55, 55. And obviously today 57.

So what happened in the second half?

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Illini basketball resume looks very NCAA ready with Senior Day victory

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Illini basketball (21-9, 8-8) celebrated the 50th anniversary of Assembly Hall (the REAL Assembly Hall, unlike the one where the Hoosiers play see the video of the renovation plans here) by squeaking by Big Ten doormat Nebraska 72-65 (13-16, 4-12). The senior day victory over the Cornhuskers is exactly 50 years from when the Assembly Hall first opened its doors on March 2, 1963. The Illini bench outscored the Huskers bench 38-0 and the Illini won the rebounding margin 35-26; which offset the Huskers shooting 50% from three.

Scheduling the Huskers for Senior day is like scheduling the Hoosiers in football for homecoming- you want to give the crowd a very high probability of victory. But it almost didn’t happen. Illini basketball seniors Kevin Berardini, Tyler Griffey, Sam McLaurin, Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson were honored in senior day ceremonies before a game that was way too close for comfort.

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Illini basketball players Twitter dark; wisely avoiding haters and trolls

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You may have wondered why no Illini basketball players have been tweeting lately. And it wasn’t because they were on a hot streak. Illini basketball won five in a row before blowing a second half lead to the #7 Michigan Wolverines. And none of the players took to Twitter afterward. Illini basketball head coach John Groce decided to keep his players of Twitter on February 6th.

I can’t say for certain when going Twitter dark ends, but I assume it won’t be until after the end of the college basketball season. And in my humble opinion, or IMHO in Twitter-speak, it’s a very good idea. Receiving 140 character expressions of hate and hostility led Illini leading scorer Brandon Paul (a member of the 1500 point club and 10th leading scorer in school history) led BP3 to post this:

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Illini basketball barely escapes winless in conference Penn St

illini-basketball

For Illini basketball fans, this was Norfolk St., Gardner-Webb, Western Carolina, Auburn and Hawaii all over again- a narrow win, 64-59 over a supremely inferior opponent. It was a foul fest that just would not end. Penn State (now 8-18; 0-14 Big Ten) was in foul trouble quite early. Illinois was hacking too.

But the 52 fouls in this game was well short of the Illini single-game record for most personal fouls: 73 when Illinois played Purdue on March 1, 1952. Eight of the last 10 games in the series have been decided by five points or less and six by two or less and here the margin was six. The Illini basketball team improved to 20-8, 7-7 in conference. This is their 30th 20 win season in school history and 12th in the last 14.

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Illini Cheerleader Sister is former WWE Diva Maria Kanellis (pics)

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It’s a great thing we have student media. They’re the guys who gave me leads like this to go research important stories like this. And make no mistake this is hard hitting, extremely important news. Let’s say you’re a fan of WWE and enjoy the work of former  WWE Diva Maria Kanellis. Now let’s say you’re an Illini fan, someone who really watches a lot of Illini games (these two groups of fans overlap quite a bit, I’ll show you the Ven diagrams) you might have noticed a member of the Illinois Dance Team or “Illinettes,” who kind of looks like Maria, but on a multi-year delay.

And you’d be right, they are indeed sisters. Janice Kanellis a.k.a. Janny Kanellis is indeed the younger sister of Maria Kanellis. Forget the wins over the #1 Hoosiers, and top 20 wins over the Gophers, Butler, Ohio State and at Gonzaga. This is truly the Illini feel good story of the college basketball season. How can you look at Maria Kanellis and not feel good?

Let’s get to the pictures.

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Possible sports photo of the year: Illini coach John Groce and son

john groce

I’m not talking about the picture above; I’m talking about the Chicago Tribune photo after the jump. It’s Illini coach John Groce and his son embracing the moment after knocking off the #1 Indiana Hoosiers, their hated rival. Of course, there’s conflict for Groce as he grew up a huge Hoosiers fan in Muncie, Indiana. And his wife went to IU as well.

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9 things really wrong with Illini basketball right now

brandon-paul-illinois

Last night the #23 Illini lost at home to a Northwestern team that has their coach squarely on the hot seat, is reeling from injuries and without their best player in Drew Crawford. The loss was the third in a row by double digits for the Illini, and the three defeats have been even more lopsided than the scores indicate. This shouldn’t be happening to a team that was ranked in the top ten just a few short weeks ago.

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