Wednesday, December 1, 2021

3 Reasons Ayo Dosunmu Will Be A Future Star


The Bulls currently sit in 3rd place within the Eastern Conference and 5th overall in the NBA standings with a 10-5 record. The core of Ball, DeRozan, and Lavine has been something special to watch. However, none of the team’s success would be possible without the growth and development of young Ayo Dosunmu.

The Morgan Park product came into the national spotlight while playing at the University of Illinois for 3 years. We saw what he could do in college, and we witnessed it in the G League. And now, we are starting to see what the hype is all about surrounding the young star. Earning time into the 9-man rotation, Dosunmu is slowly but surely making a name for himself.

Although Ayo is making a name for himself among the NBA and Bulls’ fans, he is still a rookie. There will be growing pains and learning lessons for all rooks, as I’m sure Chicago fans are used to hearing by now. All this being said, Ayo has upside, and there are three reasons that back this up.

1. Improvement Over the Years

Ayo improved his points per game every year at Illinois, starting with 13.8 freshman year, 16.6 the year after, and 20.1 in his final season. He improved his assists per game from 3.3 to 5.3 by the time he graduated, and his rebounds per game jumped from 4 to 6.3 throughout his Illinois career.

The numbers speak for themselves, but nothing stands out more than the impact Ayo had on the entire team. After finishing 12-21 during his freshman season, Ayo was determined to revolutionize Illinois basketball. The team went 21-10 the year after and reached a national ranking of 19, their highest ranking since 2012. Then came the 3rd and final season for Ayo.

After not getting to prove their full potential because of COVID, Dosunmu knew he had something left to prove. He led the Fighting Illini to a 24-7 record and even reached #2 in the nation at a point. The team had it going, and they secured a #1 seed before losing to Loyola in the Second Round of March Madness.

Nonetheless, nobody can take away the impact that Ayo had on his team throughout the course of his 3 seasons at Illinois. He will forever remain a hero there, and we can only hope to witness him break into the star we saw at Illinois.

2. The Clutch Gene

Dosunmu has a special gene. A gene that’s recognizable in Justin Fields, Dosunmu has always been THAT guy. He made big shots after big shots, including the dagger against Northwestern back in February of 2021.

Oh, and remember the dagger against Wisconsin? Or what about the Michigan game?

The list goes on and on, but the point remains the same. Ayo was born with a heart to win and a passion to grind it out until the end. We’ve seen similar clutch genes in Illinois products, such as Brandon Paul and Deron Williams. There must be something in that water in Champaign, but hey, we aren’t complaining.

3. Brad Underwood Told Us So

Illinois Head Coach Brad Underwood always supports his players, but perhaps nobody more than Ayo. He constantly told stories of Ayo’s mental toughness, physical abilities, and off-court attributes that led him to be one of the best players in the nation during his senior season. Averaging 20.1 points, 5.3 assists, and 6.3 rebounds, Dosunmu showed that he had the signs to become a future star.

“We knew he was a really good player. But really good players have to go through some adversity to make it. And Ayo just tackled that head-on,” said Underwood in an article from NBC Sports.

Dosunmuu did battle through adversities, including one that made him known as the masked-maniac. After suffering a broken nose in a loss to Michigan State in February of 2021, Dosunmu made his return a couple of weeks later. The only difference? He came back looking like a real-life superhero. And it was sick. Sick enough that it led Underwood to rock one of his own.

Underwood let the world know that Ayo was special years ago. We should trust him after seeing the development that came during his tenure at Illinois. All we have left to do now is sit back and watch the young Bull grow.

Jack Bies
Junior at Bellarmine University majoring in Communications with a Marketing minor. Former golfer at Northern Kentucky University and Bellarmine University. Bear Down and God Bless!

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