Ayo Dosunmu, Kofi Cockburn return for 2020-2021 season

Curious to see if BU adds some of his pressure defense back into the options. With Hutchison, Grandison and Miller he has some different pieces as well as some experience with this roster. With an older team he can add some complexity that wasn’t possible previously. 6’5-6” athletes flying Illini types that can pressure the ball and still recover.
 
Springfield
Love seeing the heart of this team return and show up with a crusade in mind. Hope it is not to win the "best team on campus" award. My wish is that the kids understand they have a lot of experienced and talented guys ahead of them and devote themselves to learning, hard work, patience, and resolve to contribute in the few minutes they will have on court. None will likely start and play 30 min. out of the gate, but Miller, Curbelo, Hutcheson, Grandison, BBV, Hawkins, and Hamlin will all have their time in the spotlight....just not as much as they want or are used to. And ultimately, they may all get zero minutes of intercollegiate competition over the next year. But there will be big shoes and minutes to come 2021-22 season and thus they need to be ready for whatever and whenever they are called upon. That is part of playing in a big time program with other good players and the way it used to be...and that is not a bad thing. Go Illini...getting old...and talented!!
 
Likes: POWURR
Chevy Chase, Maryland
What incredible symmetry. We lose Coach Henson on Saturday who fortified the foundations; we gain Kofi and Ayo the following Saturday (give or take) who put the frame back up on it. Doesn't matter whether we make the FF. Just playing next season (fingers crossed) with the team we have puts us back where we belong.

Permanently, with BU.
 
Best 24 hrs of Illini news in decades.
You know this is so true. We have been so far removed from the 2000 - 2005 year that the kids that we recruit really don’t know Dee Brown or Deron Williams. Certainly they are just names to them. Ayo Dosunmu will never go down as probably (this is just my opinion) a top 10 player talent wise in program history, but his “effect” is just about as high as any player I can remember. Let’s see in my years Audi Mathews, Mark Smith, Eddie Johnson, Levi Cobb, Dee Brown, and maybe Frankie? For Ayo to be in that kind of rare air is really an amazing accomplishment.

Quinn Richardson has always been my favorite Illini, anyone under 45 years old has no idea who he even was. At this moment I think Ayo Dosunmu is at that level for me. He truly loves Illinois and there a few that are influential such as Kendall, Dee, Deon those are some high up names in Illinois history.

If there is a season this team could win it all. Sure there are another 10 teams in the country that could say the same thing, but to just feel that way again about the Illini just feels good!
 
Love seeing the heart of this team return and show up with a crusade in mind. Hope it is not to win the "best team on campus" award. My wish is that the kids understand they have a lot of experienced and talented guys ahead of them and devote themselves to learning, hard work, patience, and resolve to contribute in the few minutes they will have on court. None will likely start and play 30 min. out of the gate, but Miller, Curbelo, Hutcheson, Grandison, BBV, Hawkins, and Hamlin will all have their time in the spotlight....just not as much as they want or are used to. And ultimately, they may all get zero minutes of intercollegiate competition over the next year. But there will be big shoes and minutes to come 2021-22 season and thus they need to be ready for whatever and whenever they are called upon. That is part of playing in a big time program with other good players and the way it used to be...and that is not a bad thing. Go Illini...getting old...and talented!!
Considering how the played last year, the "being the best team on campus" award and your other lists of concerns are not likely.
 
Springfield
Considering how the played last year, the "being the best team on campus" award and your other lists of concerns are not likely.
Let me try to communicate what I was saying more clearly. The "best team on campus" award would be the best they could do only if there was no competitive season. I pray that is not the case, but no one can say at this moment. Other concerns are minimal, ywr all the new guys are talented and want to play...and Underwood will make them earn their minutes. No one knows what they are thinking or if the return of Ayo and Kofi will motivate them to new levels of intensity, determination, and maximizing their contributions. This team is now getting old and that cannot be discounted as fans are wanting to see the new, highly anticipated, talent prove to be elite players....but that takes time in the B1G. No one is anticipating and wanting to see this team play...and win...more than me...but I have been engrossed in Illini basketball for 65 years and now live in Mo. Ya gotta show me...and BU....if you want on the floor.

That said, there will be a pretty strong "second team" to call upon and practice against for the first time in more than a decade. Love the depth of this team.
 
The stars have seemed to been aligning since BU arrived on the scene.....hasn't been this much hype and hope for quite some time....hopefully a season will play out without interruption and Illinois will be a force in the B10 conference and nationally as well....we may not win a B10 or national championship ( sure hope so) but the Illinois men's basketball program is knocking on the door of national prominence again....been over a decade since that's happened....one of the most important men's basketball seasons in a long long time......GO ILLINI!!
 
The stars have seemed to been aligning since BU arrived on the scene.....hasn't been this much hype and hope for quite some time....hopefully a season will play out without interruption and Illinois will be a force in the B10 conference and nationally as well....we may not win a B10 or national championship ( sure hope so) but the Illinois men's basketball program is knocking on the door of national prominence again....been over a decade since that's happened....one of the most important men's basketball seasons in a long long time......GO ILLINI!!
More than star alignment, Josh hired a head coach who

Demands accountability from his players

Recruits players that are willing to be accountable

Hires and pays assistants who can recruit and develop talented players that buy into that accountability.

Man, it is so easy to say what I just said and so hard to do.
 
I get that there were 1,000 or more other reasons for Ayo and Kofi to come back to Champaign....but in my own little world and mind I give a little credit to the awesome Illini fan base, all of you who made State Farm rock this year for the home games (even the unfortunate losses to Michigan State and Maryland)...from my couch on TV, the Indiana and Iowa games seemed electric on TV, and I think it couldn't hurt when those guys are considering what to do next year knowing if they return they are returning to a fan base starved for a winner again who is going to support these guys like nobody else. I think all that is in the back of those guys' minds. Of course it's not going to keep them in C-U if they are a first round NBA pick, nor should it, but if everything else is equal they know how special it is to play here and love being part of it. Illini diehards, give yourselves a pat on the back (or raise a glass if that's more fun)...I think what we've shown in our passion for the Illini, I just think it only helps in these situations to have such great support behind the program and hopefully we are just at the start of what could become the next golden era of Illinois hoops.
 
All this preseason stuff is a guess, of course. I'm not sure we're top-5, to be honest. There are other teams with a lot of returning talent, and we still need an answer for the 4 spot. When you look at the top-5, you're looking at some very talented teams, often with multiple players that are match-up problems. Ayo and Kofi are problems for virtually any team in the country, but Maryland for example, did a great job dealing with Kofi, while having a stud of their own in Oturu.

We may very well be that good, but I'm holding my expectations a bit lower for now.
If you’re going to be a Debbie downer in the middle of everyone’s optimism, at least be correct about other teams. Oturu played for Minnesota last time I checked.
 
Chevy Chase, Maryland
Sure there are another 10 teams in the country that could say the same thing, but to just feel that way again about the Illini just feels good!
Exactly. That's the point. Consistent national relevance. I came to admire Henson's teams around 1979. They were getting tougher every year and the talent was coming in. Though I was only a kid, I could grok that. I just remember the '80s and how, every single year it was only a matter of where we would be seeded in March and enjoying the ups and downs of the seasons. Same once Kruger/Self got us back on our feet ~ '99 and through 2006. That's where we belong but once it's lost it's very hard to recover without the right coach. I believe we've got the right coach again.

I'm also totally on board with your comment about Ayo. He so clearly loves the school, and the staff, as do Giorgi, Dre, DMW, Trent. They just exude that vibe, which is so important for recruiting and momentum. The pump is primed. Even if life had been normal and we lost Kofi and Ayo this season, I felt that recruiting was on the right track with Miller and Curbelo.

Having all of these guys on the same team for a season, however, is ridiculous good fortune. It should lead to further recruiting coups, a la Jimmy Collins in the '80s and Tony Yates, Les Wothke and Dick Nagy before him. Don't know who had the recruiting chops on those staffs but they set the table for what Jimmy did when they brought in guys like Levi, Derek and Eddie.

We were so fortunate that Jimmy played for Lou at NMSU, then for the Bulls and settled in Chicago.
 
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Exactly. That's the point. Consistent national relevance. I came to admire Henson's teams around 1979. They were getting tougher every year and the talent was coming in. Though I was only a kid, I could grok that. I just remember the '80s and how, every single year it was only a matter of where we would be seeded in March and enjoying the ups and downs of the seasons. Same once Kruger/Self got us back on our feet ~ '99 and through 2006. That's where we belong but once it's lost it's very hard to recover without the right coach. I believe we've got the right coach again.

I'm also totally on board with your comment about Ayo. He so clearly loves the school, and the staff, as do Giorgi, Dre, DMW, Trent. They just exude that vibe, which is so important for recruiting and momentum. The pump is primed. Even if life had been normal and we lost Kofi and Ayo this season, I felt that recruiting was on the right track with Miller and Curbelo.

Having all of these guys on the same team for a season, however, is ridiculous good fortune. It should lead to further recruiting coups, a la Jimmy Collins in the '80s and Tony Yates, Les Wothke and Dick Nagy before him. Don't know who had the recruiting chops on those staffs but they set the table for what Jimmy did when they brought in guys like Levi, Derek and Eddie.

We were so fortunate that Jimmy played for Lou at NMSU, then for the Bulls and settled in Chicago.
Thoughtful post.

I came on board over a decade later, right as Lou's final four team, loaded with talent, ascended to #1 in the country. I was peripherally involved with recruiting as both a rep for the college of business, and a tutor available to athletes (paid well for being in school). The house was rocking, and fan base was intense. Watching how college bball has changed, the quick turn-over generally, and especially as it relates to elite players and the NBA, you have to savor these moments when your top talent stays around. We had the same thing with HRF, Deron, Meyers.... Having 2 guys in one season is all the more remarkable.

Agree completely on the importance of the coach, btw.
 
Likes: altgeld88
Chevy Chase, Maryland
Thoughtful post.

I came on board over a decade later, right as Lou's final four team, loaded with talent, ascended to #1 in the country. I was peripherally involved with recruiting as both a rep for the college of business, and a tutor available to athletes (paid well for being in school). The house was rocking, and fan base was intense. Watching how college bball has changed, the quick turn-over generally, and especially as it relates to elite players and the NBA, you have to savor these moments when your top talent stays around. We had the same thing with HRF, Deron, Meyers.... Having 2 guys in one season is all the more remarkable.

Agree completely on the importance of the coach, btw.
That must have been a cool experience, being involved with recruiting at that time. I was in grad school that '89 winter/spring. An amazing time to be on campus. I'll never forget watching that IU game in Bloomington on TV, and Nick's buzzer-beater from the hash-mark, while making dinner on an early Sunday evening in my apartment. And the GT win. And the two Michigan beat-downs. What a team they were, and a style of play unmatched before or since.
 
That must have been a cool experience, being involved with recruiting at that time.
Truly was! Lot of energy and pride in the program. Learned a bit about how the athletes experience college --they are a dedicated and talented bunch that have a lot to juggle. It's true of any scholarship sport.