Illini Roster Breakdown: What Will Ayo Dosunmu Bring to Illinois Basketball?

Illinois Fighting Illini Basketball landed a huge signing in the 2018 class in Ayo Dosunmu. But what exactly does he bring to the table for Brad Underwood and co.?

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It’s not any exaggeration to say that Ayo Dosunmu is the biggest piece of this year’s Illinois Basketball recruiting class. Dosunmu is a 6-5, 160 lb. (247) combo guard from Morgan Park High School in Chicago, Illinois, and is ranked as the 30th player overall in the class of ’18. He is also ranked as the top player in Illinois, and the 3rd ranked Combo Guard in the class of 2018.  This made Dosunmu the highest ranked Chicago Public League recruit during the rankings era.

Dosumnu broke Illini Twitter when he committed to be an Illini on October 19th, 2017, and then did it again when he signed for the Illini later in the recruiting season. The Illini fans finally have the big Chicago star signing they’ve been waiting for, and now, he is signed, sealed and delivered. In this new series on The Sports Guys Site, I’ll break down what each player currently on Illinois Basketball’s roster for the 2018-2019 season will bring to the team. First up is Dosunmu. Here’s what I think his strengths are…


Ayo Dosunmu might not spend three years at the University of Illinois, and he’s much less likely to spend all four, according to most national analysts. However, he sure has the potential to make a huge impact while he is a member of the Orange and Blue.

With the departures of Mark Smith, Mark Alstork and Te’Jon Lucas from the Illinois backcourt, the Illini will be losing a cumulative 70 starts, and approximately 1,935 minutes from their rotation. Ayo’s biggest strength is that he could possibly come in right off the bat and control the flow of the game as the team’s lead facilitator and play maker.

Playmaking abilities aside, Ayo’s biggest ability is scoring the ball, and he does it with ease. Ayo has a smooth shooting stroke, that allows him to draw attention to himself on the perimeter, allowing for chances off of assists. Dosunmu is far from one dimensional, and if defenses don’t completely close on him, he has a large arsenal of weapons driving to the basket. This includes a euro step, which can be seen in many of his highlight reels, as well as an excellent ability to finish off a drive to the hoop aggressively.

What could be one of my favorite things about Dosunmu is that he has a great vertical. Pair that with long arms and a good reaction time, and you’ve got a great physique to be a good rebounding guard, something the Illini are lacking (for now) in the guard position. Dosunmu definitely fits the role of an all-around guard, and brings rebounding to the table along with his capability of getting assists and points.

Another strength that we are already seeing play out is in the recruiting field. The addition of a star point guard who is known for his ability passing the ball is huge for the Illini frontcourt as well. We’ve seen Dosunmu’s addition (it can be reasonably assumed) impact the team with signings like Tevian Jones. Big men will really enjoy playing in a fast-paced offense like Brad Underwood’s, which allows for the floor to be spread well, and gives them the opportunity for high scoring, ranging from post-ups to alley-oops.

In case you didn’t get them, the bold items listed are just a few of the strengths Dosunmu brings to the table.  Here they are in an easier to read list.

– Can control the flow of the game as the team’s lead facilitator and play maker
– Has a great shooting form with a smooth stroke
– Has a large arsenal of weapons driving to the basket
– Brings rebounding to the table along with his playmaking, shooting abilities
– Will Improve the Illini frontcourt by spreading the floor, finding the open man
– Addition helps with recruiting

Ayo Dosunmu is going to bring exactly what you’d expect from a player so highly rated, and whether he wherever he is slotted in in this Illini offense, he will be a large focal point of next year’s team. He brings all the things listed above to the table and more, and his past experience in high school playing with a fast-paced team will do him a great justice in Brad Underwood’s system.

Illini fans, be excited.

*Note* The original copy of this article stated that Ayo Dosunmu was 6-3, a statistic taken from 247 sports (which admittedly seemed pretty short at the time), the edit has been made to indicate a more accurate height.


Check out more Illini articles and more on The Sports Guys Site, starting with our next Illini Basketball article on Illini commit and signee Alan Griffin.

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