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.
We must be the same age? I grew up in Champaign and went to Central graduated in 1979. I remember when Lou came and what if felt like to really have a sport to root for.

Football was already in the dumps, I was 3 in 1964 when they went to the Rose Bowl, so Lou built what I ever knew or cared about in Illini sports.
 
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
We must be the same age? I grew up in Champaign and went to Central graduated in 1979. I remember when Lou came and what if felt like to really have a sport to root for.

Football was already in the dumps, I was 3 in 1964 when they went to the Rose Bowl, so Lou built what I ever knew or cared about in Illini sports.
You're five years older than me. I grew up in Columbus watching OSU and admiring from afar what Lou was doing in the late '70s/early '80s. I recall going to an OSU-Illinois game in Columbus in ~ 1975. All I remember was that Bartow was coaching, and Bill Rucks and Otho Tucker were on the Illini (I was OCD about rosters and player/coach trivia as a kid), both teams were pretty mediocre, and St. John Arena was barely half-filled.

I also recall that Derek Harper team in '82. OSU went to Champaign in January when the Illini were undefeated and beat them in OT. It made the cover of SI the following week. OSU had a really good team that year, though under the radar until they beat the Illini. I remember watching Harper play (I was a 16-year-old guard and loved watching BT games) and thinking he looked nearly as good as Isaiah Thomas had the season before.
 
Likes: Illini Pride
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.
 
Flight#33
In my imagination, Ayo woke up one recent morning, sat up and swung his legs out from the covers and over the edge of the bed, rubbed his eyes and stretched, looked across his bedroom into his mirrored closet doors, yawned, and then said, "Man, f*ck Iowa."

I love this sooo much
 
Likes: Illini Pride
My
You're five years older than me. I grew up in Columbus watching OSU and admiring from afar what Lou was doing in the late '70s/early '80s. I recall going to an OSU-Illinois game in Columbus in ~ 1975. All I remember was that Bartow was coaching, and Bill Rucks and Otho Tucker were on the Illini (I was OCD about rosters and player/coach trivia as a kid), both teams were pretty mediocre, and St. John Arena was barely half-filled.

I also recall that Derek Harper team in '82. OSU went to Champaign in January when the Illini were undefeated and beat them in OT. It made the cover of SI the following week. OSU had a really good team that year, though under the radar until they beat the Illini. I remember watching Harper play (I was a 16-year-old guard and loved watching BT games) and thinking he looked nearly as good as Isaiah Thomas had the season before.
My best friend lives in Van Wert Ohio and went to tOSU and is a die hard Buckeye. Even he understands just how hard it is to be a fan of Illinois. So many “heartaches”, Lou was the one thing that was “moving in the right direction” for the athletic department.

My dad always told me how good Illinois was before the slush fund, but I can’t remember it so I grew up with a school that simply was a also run. In HS we used to go to Illinois games, and one guys would get i the end zone for (started as $1.00) then they killed us when it went to $2.00. That kid would then leave and get his hand stamped. He would then come out and “roll” the stamp onto about 4 or 5 other guys. It was all there was in Champaign in the 70’s.

When Lou came, it was sort of like well we have this “old” guy with funny hair and so what really? Little did I know that 45 years later, he would be far and away the most influential person in the history of the school (at least for me).

I did not have the grades to go to the U of I, so I went to ISU, but never followed the Redbirds. Always loved and followed the Illini.

in 1986 i went to grad school at Purdue and was such an Illini fan that I would drive half way to Champaign from Lafayette (Hoopston) and a guy who owned a small motel would let me watch Illinois games on their TV (Hoopston could get channel 3 via antenna) for $5.00. Only catch was I could not sit on the bed or use the bathroom lol.

After grad school I came home to Champaign and ran my parents business for 10 years. In 1985 or 1986 my wife (working at Lincoln Lodge in Urbana) And Kendall stayed their with his HS team. Well I met him and we have been friends ever since, but something cool happened.

In 1988 my buddy from HS was watching an Illini game where Dick Vitale called the Illini the “flying Illini”. Well my friend called and said you should make a shirt saying that. Well the chief with wings was born. We made them first with Flight #33 on them Kenny Battle was just so huge. Kenny was pretty shy back then, but Kendall he was so personable. Well he asked me if I could make one with flight #13 on it? I did and then we were off to the races. We made them with every players number on them.

Back then we could not print our own shirts, so we had them made in all places (Des Moines Iowa). Every night I would leave Champaign and Drive to the Quad Cities and pick up every shirt our printer could make in one days time (he would drive to meet me in Davenport). I would bring them back to the store and in 10 minutes every one was sold out.

Soon after Champion allowed us to sell the basketball shorts (Remember Illinois and Michigan sort of invented the baggy shorts look). We could not stop selling these $50 shorts in 1989.

Well, 2020 has been a tough year Lou passed on and my parents (my grandfather started the store in 1955) closed its doors for the last time last Friday July 31st. TeShurt will no longer be a part of the University of Illinois campus.

I am sure there are many many people with a much deeper love for Illinois, but it is tough to imagine? The greatest thing as a fan for me was I was able to be in the locker room after the Arizona game with my best friend from college (he knew Roger Powell senior from ISU).

Anyways, enough of the trip down memory lane. To say the least last week was very hard for me, so seeing both Ayo and Kofi return was like a present from above for me. Ayo is and will be another Kendall, Jerry C, Deon who simply gave all they had to the school and the town.
 
Chevy Chase, Maryland
Well, 2020 has been a tough year Lou passed on and my parents (my grandfather started the store in 1955) closed its doors for the last time last Friday July 31st. TeShurt will no longer be a part of the University of Illinois campus.
I'm really sorry to hear that. TeShurt was a big part of my years on Campus. I remember walking in there as an 18-year-old and buying my first Illini shirts and a plastic mug that I used as a drinking cup in the dorms. That store is a campus institution. I love your story about driving from Lafayette to Hoopeston. That's dedication as a fan.

Thanks to you and your family for all you've given the C-U community. I left campus 30 years ago this coming Tuesday and still remember your store, and so much more. It's a wonderful place, campus and community. Time has passed in an eye-blink.