NBA Draft '19: Ayo Dosunmu Season Preview
Photo courtesy of The Champaign Room
Ayo Dosunmu, a five-star recruit hailing from Chicago, is ready to be the hometown hero for the University of Illinois. A two-time state champion at Morgan Park High School and member of the gold-medal winning U18 USA Basketball team, Dosunmu uses his quickness to dominate both sides of the floor. Dosunmu will fuel a high-octane offense led by coach Brad Underwood as the Fighting Illini look to compete for a NCAA Tournament appearance for the first time since 2013.
Ayo Dosunmu is an explosive guard that can get to the rim on every possession. Dosunmu, listed at 6-foot-4, can use his athleticism to hang in the air and change his shot in the paint despite not being overly vertical. Dosunmu’s left-hand finishing must improve as heavily relies on his right to finish up close. His isolations are almost exclusively to slash and get to the rim. Dosunmu’s catch-and-shoot game will keep defenders honest, but his off-dribble shooting leaves a lot to be desired. Dosunmu’s shot form is his biggest critique, often looking awkward with a low release point. According to Scott Phillips of NBCSports, however, Ayo Dosunmu’s shot form is now greatly improved and a part of his success with USA Basketball. If true, his draft stock could rise dramatically.
While Ayo Dosunmu primarily played point guard at Morgan Park, his time with USA Basketball has shown his ability to play off-ball as well. His versatility will be valuable this coming season to an Illinois team that is returning Trent Frazier, a sophomore guard who was second on the team in scoring last season. Dosunmu’s willingness to become a combo guard has shown his high basketball IQ and unselfishness, caring more about the team’s success than his time on the ball.
Dosunmu is not an elite playmaker, but his passing and vision should translate well to the collegiate level. Dosunmu makes the right decision in the pick-and-roll and can pass out to open shooters while penetrating. He will not turn the ball over while dribbling and should post a positive pure point rating.
With good length and quickness, one would expect Dosunmu to be great on the defensive end of the floor. Averaging almost three steals a game in his senior year, Dosunmu will be more than capable to defend at the next level. An intense on-ball defender, he can disrupt an offense from baseline-to-baseline. As a team defender, Dosunmu plays the passing lanes well while also staying in position to help when needed. He must to bulk up to progress as a defender, but his talent on that end is obvious. Dosunmu’s tremendous rebounding numbers should drop at Illinois, but his ability to crash the boards and start the break will pressure defenses and lead to easy points.
Ayo Dosunmu is a culture changer for the University of Illinois. As of late, Chicago’s five-star recruits have left the state (Jabari Parker, Jahlil Okafor, Jalen Brunson, etc.). Instead of following suit, Dosunmu has elected to stay in the state that raised him. Expected to be a one-and-done, Dosunmu must make a lasting impact on the program every time he steps on the court. The pressure to perform has never been higher for Underwood’s Fighting Illini, now boasting a roster capable of competing against the improving Big Ten. The high-scoring offense of Illinois should highlight Dosunmu’s finishing, passing, and ability to control the pace. Ayo Dosunmu has great potential, but his draft stock will heavily rely on his shooting. If he can convert from outside at an above average rate with consistent form, Dosunmu could be a mid-first round pick in the 2019 Draft. If his shot is awkward or ineffective, Dosunmu could slip to the second-round or choose to stay a second year at Illinois.