Ayo Dosunmu, Kofi Cockburn return for 2020-2021 season

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Ayo Dosunmu: There were so many different pros and cons I weighed with my family. Talked with grandpa.

Ayo Dosunmu: Said he knew his decision the day he dropped the video (Friday). He had two versions of the video with two different endings.

Ayo Dosunmu: Coaching staff "gave me a lot of space" to make best personal decision. "No pressure."

Ayo Dosunmu: "Everyone's book is different."

Some go one and done. Others spend extra time. Lists Steph Curry, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum as guys who spent several years in college.

"They win. I want to be in the same conversations as those greats."

Dosunmu: Called Underwood and then dropped the video.

"He was excited. He was very ecstatic."

Ayo Dosunmu: He and Kofi each gave each other space during decision-making process.

Ayo Dosunmu just said he doesn't have an apartment in Champaign yet.

He was all-in on the process.

Ayo Dosumu said he's excited to play in front of Illinois fans again but said what they wanted didn't factor into his decision. Just a personal, family decision.

Ayo Dosunmu on competing in loaded Big Ten: "I'm looking forward to competing against everybody. Whoever.

"Now, we're the ones being hunted."

Ayo Dosunmu: If there was a definite combine, a lot of things could've went differently. Being on stand-by made this a difficult decision.

Ayo Dosunmu: Coach said he's leaning on me a lot more (as an upperclassman). Basically if something goes wrong, it's on me.

Ayo Dosunmu on Adam Miller: "We won a state championship together. Last time w played together, we won. I'm a competitor. He's a competitor."

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Evansville, IN
All I can say is, PLEASE BE A SEASON, PLEASE BE A SEASON, PLEASE BE A SEASON, PLEASE BE A SEASON, PLEASE BE A SEASON, PLEASE BE A SEASON, PLEASE BE A SEASON,
If for no other reason than to prove that Iowa is overrated and Garza made a mistake coming back.

Iowa will be good, sure. And Garza will be good. But it's going to be hard for either one of them to match expectations, let alone beat them. If Ayo being underrated and coming back feels like a head-scratcher, Garza coming back after already getting huge hype and peak exposure is insane optimism.
 
Springfield
As astonished as I am, and we all are, that Ayo has made his decision to return for another season at U of I, I am compelled to give him a pat on the back. He has earned my, and all Illini fans and alums, admiration and respect in the growth he has made in the almost 3 years since he committed to becoming part of the school and its basketball program. When he made his commitment, what I saw was a cocky kid who thought he would spend his required season of college in C-U before moving on the NBA stardom. After seeing him play, that proved pretty much a pipe dream as he had much growth, both mental, physical, and skill-wise, to accomplish before he could be considered worth an NBA roster spot. But....during the past couple of years, we have seen that growth come about to put him on the brink, with a bit more work on his shooting skills, of being an almost certain NBA player... for more than just a cup of coffee. His mental abilities and persona have also grown...and has, unlike so many young stars, seemingly sought and listened to sound advice in a difficult time. I hope he completes his degree and becomes a U of I graduate and alum, and goes on to be a roll model in the ilk of Dee Brown, Deron Williams, and Kenny Battle. The growth he has shown is not guaranteed, and Illini fans know this as well as any. But Ayo has grown into an outstanding player and seemingly, person, deserving to be remembered as an Illini legend. Let us hope that he has yet another memorable and healthy season.

We are all excited to be able to see this team compete and achieve together for another season....and that is somewhat selfish. But, come this time next year, I sincerely want to see him getting ready to compete for an NBA title with a solid and guaranteed contract. In addition, I hope someday he can reflect back and remember his decision, though a difficult one at the time, one he will never regret....and cherish the memories of going to battle another 35 or so times with a special and talented group of teammates.

Additionally, I hope Kofi uses this season to mature both on and off the court as well as Ayo has done and never regret it. Let's hope they get to play someone.
 
I just rolled up to the monitor with my morning coffee and pulled up the site for the first time since the news broke of Lou's passing. Nearly spit out a mouthful when I saw that Ayo's coming back.

What I remember most about that '05 team was Dee and his relentless drive to improve. I recall an article about the team in StL preparing for the Braggin' Rights game his junior (?) year. When practice was over, he voluntarily went to the baseline and started running suicides. With a smile on his face. Deron and others joined him. He made a race of it with everyone and goaded them 'cause he was beating them. That's leadership. Ayo has that potential as a junior for the underclassmen. Beyond his penchant for stone-cold, consistent, game-ending heroics, that's what has me most excited about next season now.

I just got a lot less concerned about the 8-10 ppg we lost when Alan bolted.

ILL-!!!!!
I...N...I...!!!
 
Likes: Illini Pride
This team will be awesome to watch. With Kofi and Ayo back along with DMW, GB, the new recruits along with the two transfers will be one heck of a team. I hope there is a season. This is the kind of team all Illini fans have been hoping for. I can see Ayo, Trent, Kofi, GB, and Adam Miller starting. You may see full hockey shifts with this team. Gosh we are 12 deep. There is plenty of depth on this team to make a run in the BT and the NCAA tourney. It will be an amazing team to watch. ILL.
 
I feel like Ayo's comp in the NBA is DeMar DeRozan. Both ~ the same height (Ayo listed 6'5", DR 6'6"). Both are deadly when they have some steam headed to the basket, both don't have extreme athleticism or blazing speed to rely on but are sneaky fast (like deron used to do) and can pick their spots. Both get to their spots easily and can knock down shots. But here's where I see Ayo needing to improve if he is to get closer to DD's profile (if that's a goal):
- strength (obviously) to be able to finish through contact
- more athleticism - quicker step, able to play above the rim more
- A euro-move: Not a euro step per se, but I saw a lot of highlights of DD's where he weaves the basketball through traffic while not dribbling. Tough to describe, but the ball and hands keep moving despite stopping his dribble
- Back to the basket game - some more ability in iso situations with his back to the basket. A fade-away would be nice.

Of course there are others, but these were the ones I thought were just intriguing as a set of other skills than what has been talked about. Search youtube for DD highlights and I'm sure you'll see many similarities.
 
I feel like Ayo's comp in the NBA is DeMar DeRozan. Both ~ the same height (Ayo listed 6'5", DR 6'6"). Both are deadly when they have some steam headed to the basket, both don't have extreme athleticism or blazing speed to rely on but are sneaky fast (like deron used to do) and can pick their spots. Both get to their spots easily and can knock down shots. But here's where I see Ayo needing to improve if he is to get closer to DD's profile (if that's a goal):
- strength (obviously) to be able to finish through contact
- more athleticism - quicker step, able to play above the rim more
- A euro-move: Not a euro step per se, but I saw a lot of highlights of DD's where he weaves the basketball through traffic while not dribbling. Tough to describe, but the ball and hands keep moving despite stopping his dribble
- Back to the basket game - some more ability in iso situations with his back to the basket. A fade-away would be nice.

Of course there are others, but these were the ones I thought were just intriguing as a set of other skills than what has been talked about. Search youtube for DD highlights and I'm sure you'll see many similarities.
I think the only comparison to DeMar that Ayo has is the mid-range game. DR is one of the most athletic players in the league.

My comp for Ayo is a poor mans shai gilgeous-alexander. Neither are vertically explosive, but very craft when finishing and getting in the paint. That's the best comp for Ayo IMO
 
I think the only comparison to DeMar that Ayo has is the mid-range game. DR is one of the most athletic players in the league.

My comp for Ayo is a poor mans shai gilgeous-alexander. Neither are vertically explosive, but very craft when finishing and getting in the paint. That's the best comp for Ayo IMO
I agree with the Shai comparison. However, I wouldn't say poor man's if his 3 point shot becomes legit. Shai did a decent job of shooting the 3 in college, but on a very limited average. Ayo is faster coast-to-coast. The key though is the 3 point shot. If Ayo improves his 3 point shot, he is going to be a good pro. If he does not, he may not be in the NBA.
 
Likes: nwebb1
I think the only comparison to DeMar that Ayo has is the mid-range game. DR is one of the most athletic players in the league.

My comp for Ayo is a poor mans shai gilgeous-alexander. Neither are vertically explosive, but very craft when finishing and getting in the paint. That's the best comp for Ayo IMO
You may be right. I watched a couple minutes of SGA's highlights and for me, I saw less comparison to Ayo's game than what I saw in the first couple of minutes of this highlight reel for DD () of course those couple of crazy dunks. DD may not be using all of his athleticism, but I feel like I have seen or can see Ayo do much of what DD does in that video. I'm not saying of course he is DD, but I think his game could be a match for that. But I think your assessment with SGA may be more of what he'll be asked to do at first in order to stay in the NBA. I don't know, but maybe I'm looking through orange colored glasses....but I love me some Ayo!
 
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I agree with the Shai comparison. However, I wouldn't say poor man's if his 3 point shot becomes legit. Shai did a decent job of shooting the 3 in college, but on a very limited average. Ayo is faster coast-to-coast. The key though is the 3 point shot. If Ayo improves his 3 point shot, he is going to be a good pro. If he does not, he may not be in the NBA.
Maybe poor mans wasnt the best choice of words, but i just dont expect him to be a 20 point scorer in the league.
 
Likes: rtbritt
Maybe poor mans wasnt the best choice of words, but i just dont expect him to be a 20 point scorer in the league.
Definitely not if his 3 point shot does not develop. However, if his shot does develop, why not. He needed to work on his mid-range last year and it is now lethal. He has many hesitations dribble/step backs. Ayo has elite speed to get down the court in transition. Shai was not drafted to be a scorer, but just became that. Shai was drafted as a nice role player type of combo guard that can guard multiple positions, handle the ball, and anything outside of mid-range was a bonus. The key for Ayo having a nice career is his 3 point shot. If he can shoot 37% from 3 this year (lofty, but he did shoot 35% his Frosh Year) he will also be a first round pick in the future.
 
Wow! I thought for sure Ayo was gone!

A couple thoughts... assuming there will be a season...
1. We'll be really good even if Kofi declares, but ... don't do that big guy!
2. Alan Griffin must be choking his mom right now about convincing him to leave
3. Has there ever been a national champion with 0 players having played in the NCAA tourney? That would be us if we win it all
4. BU might just have the horses to run that pressure defense he started with in spurts... that might be a game changer in close ones!
5. Please, Please go away Covid-19!!!!!
I won't say anything bad about Alan Griffin. He would have come off the bench at Illinois and he has earned a starting position. I wish him the absolute best.
 
North Bethesda, Maryland
I won't say anything bad about Alan Griffin. He would have come off the bench at Illinois and he has earned a starting position. I wish him the absolute best.
I agree, and I know there is the “do you think he regrets his decision now?” question out there, but maybe he feels it was even a better call now. Yes, he could have competed for minutes, but with the team we’ve assembled, he might feel better about his chances to make a bigger impact at a school that has a long standing BBall tradition. We will be more than fine without him and I hope he is fine without us.
 
I dream of ordering a beer at a nice bar, and it comes with foam on the bottom and my money back. Having Ayo and Kofi both return is way better.
 
I agree, and I know there is the “do you think he regrets his decision now?” question out there, but maybe he feels it was even a better call now. Yes, he could have competed for minutes, but with the team we’ve assembled, he might feel better about his chances to make a bigger impact at a school that has a long standing BBall tradition. We will be more than fine without him and I hope he is fine without us.
He's better off. He'll get more chance to play in Syracuse and he'll be better off playing in a zone defense.