On Friday, the Illinois Fighting Illini got some exciting news as sophomore guard Ayo Dosunmu announced that he would be foregoing the 2020 NBA Draft and returning to campus for his junior season with the program. He now figures to be a key player on a nationally relevant team next year and it’s certainly exciting news for Brad Underwood and his staff.
BREAKING: Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu is withdrawing from the 2020 NBA Draft and will return to school next season, per his Twitter page.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) August 1, 2020
Significant Big Ten News.
During his two seasons in Champaign, Dosunmu played in a total of 62 games and averaged 15.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. He was a key reason Illinois finished 21-10 overall and were on the verge of making the program’s first NCAA Tournament since 2013. Dosunmu played particularly well down the stretch, scoring double-digits in his final 15 games of the season, including a 27-point outing on the road against Michigan.
This return also wasn’t a foregone conclusion. Many thought Dosunmu had a real shot at getting drafted this year, including The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie, who rated him as the 53rd best prospect on his big board this year. That would have landed him a spot in the second round and with a real shot of signing a deal to stay in the league for at least a few years.
Of course, fans will now have to wait at least one more year to see where Dosunmu might land as a pro prospect. And in the meantime, he figures to be the leader for a really good Illini team next season. Dosunmu and Trent Frazier should lead things in the backcourt, a few options on the wing, and the team still has a chance to return star big man Kofi Cockburn upfront. With that group, Illinois would not only make some serious noise in the Big Ten, but should be a relevant factor nationally.
What Dosunmu and Illinois will accomplish next season remains to be seen, but this has to be exciting news for fans and the coaching staff.