Ayo Dosunmu

Illini Star Dosunmu Discusses Decision to Declare for NBA Draft

Though he could return to Illinois, the Morgan Park High School graduate believes he's a first round pick and is "100% locked in" on staying in the draft

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It's hard for Ayo Dosunmu not to feel upset about the way his sophomore season at Illinois came to an end.

Thanks in large part to his 16.6 points and 3.3 assists per game, Dosunmu had the Illini headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013. But then, disappointment.

The coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the Big Dance, and despite a breakthrough season, the team didn't get to experience the ultimate reward.

"It’s going to be a big 'What if?', but I’m going to remember our team was great," Dosunmu said. "I’m a bit upset about it because at the end of the day, I’m a competitive guy and I feel like our team was going to go far in the NCAA Tournament," he added.

Instead, Dosunmu was forced to ponder his future much earlier than expected. He's always dreamed of a place in the NBA, so despite the tug of another run at March Madness, the Morgan Park grad decided to declare for the NBA Draft. He made the announcement on Wednesday.

"I feel like it’s the best decision for me," said the guard. "I know the work I would have done in the NCAA, [and] I know that can translate to an NBA team, an NBA roster."

Dosumnu has not hired an agent, so he's eligible to return to school if he changes his mind before June 3rd, but that's not the plan. Unless the feedback he gets from the NBA explicitly says he'd go undrafted, he plans to try and take the next step.

"I just felt this was the best decision for me and my family, to 100% lock in for the draft," Dosunmu said. "That’s pretty much my focus right now – just 100% locked in, getting ready, getting my body ready, getting my mind ready, doing yoga, stretching, eating right, getting ready for the next level," he added.

Where might the 20 year-old be drafted? Some mock drafts have him going late in the first round, others in the second round, and some predict he won't be picked at all. But in Dosunmu's mind, he's got the talent to be taken early.

"I feel like I’m a first round pick," he said. "I feel like if I would have had a Big Ten Tournament or an NCAA Tournament, I would forsure be a first round pick."

Currently, the All-Big Ten First Team selection is living with his parents on Chicago's south side, doing everything he can to stay in shape and get stronger. Like many others, he doesn't know what will happen to this year's draft and its surrounding events, but whenever he gets his shot to impress NBA decision-makers, he plans to be ready.

"I know whenever it’s time, I’m going to prove to whatever GM’s what I’m capable of and I’m going to prove to them how I can impact the team next year."

The NBA Draft is currently scheduled for Thursday, June 25th.

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