Ayo Dosunmu takes unofficial visit to Illinois

By Matt Gertsmeier, Staff writer

Morgan Park High School’s first two days of school were teacher institute days on Sept. 1 and 2. While those might seem like ordinary last couple of days off before the conclusion of summer, they were much more than that for Ayo Dosunmu.

For the four-star guard, those days were the official start of his junior year and the official start of off-campus contact recruiting.

Illinois basketball head coach John Groce hasn’t wasted any time with the 6-foot-3-inch guard from Chicago. Dosunmu spent this past weekend in Champaign on an unofficial visit with Illinois.

Dosunmu was spotted at the Illinois football game against Murray State with his father, Groce and other members of the basketball staff including Director of Player Development Dee Brown.

This weekend’s visit has shown a shift of attention to the class of 2018. The Illini have not received any commitments for the class of 2018 but have some high-caliber targets – Dosunmu being towards the top of that list.

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    Dosunmu is ranked No. 34 in the nation and is the best player in the state according to 247sports.com. He is a five-star recruit and ranked No. 20 in the nation on Scout.com.

    Despite only playing two seasons of high school ball so far, he has already proven himself as an outstanding player. Last season, he played as a sophomore in the backcourt alongside Illinois’ 2016 Mr. Basketball Charlie Moore. Together, they brought Morgan Park to the Super-Sectionals of the IHSA state tournament.

    As an underclassman, Dosunmu demonstrated confidence on the court. He’s quick and has handles that make defenders wish they had a different defensive assignment. There are many clips of him crossing up defenses and making opponents look silly trying to stop him.

    If you’re still not sold on his speed and ball handling skills, just go on YouTube and search “Ayo Dosunmu makes defender do the splits”.

    He also possesses great court vision. Dosunmu always has his head up and constantly searches for the open man. His point guard skills would be a great addition to a team that is composed of a lot of shooters.

    With his ability to fly down the court in a controlled manner, most of his scoring comes from driving to the cup. He can extend his range with his jump shot, but analysts suggest that outside shooting might be an area he needs to improve.

    Another area that will need to be improved is his strength. Dosunmu is listed at 160 pounds on 247sports.com and 170 pounds on Scout.com. His speed has helped him get away with his small stature in high school, but it could become an issue at the next level.

    With his junior and senior seasons, as well as the possibility of a redshirt season, he will have plenty of time to get bigger, so it shouldn’t be a huge problem.

    But what might be a big problem is scholarship space.

    Next year, Illinois will not be graduating any seniors on scholarship, and there are currently two scholarships remaining for the class of 2017.

    There has been speculation on if those scholarships will be used to continue building next year’s No. 3 class: There are still quite a few targets for those remaining spots, including power forward Mayan Kiir and small forwards Abu Kigab and Kris Wilkes. Kigab and Wilkes are both scheduled for official visits in September.

    If the two remaining scholarships are not filled for the class of 2017 and instead pushed back to the class of 2018, then the pursuit for Dosunmu would be a great opportunity for Illinois. He has spent this summer taking unofficial visits to Notre Dame, Northwestern, Xavier and Cincinnati. He’s received 13 offers including Illinois, UNLV, Creighton, Marquette and St. John’s.

    While it’s still uncertain as to what will happen with roster spots for the class of 2018, Dosunmu needs to stay as a top priority for the Groce’s class of 2018.

    Matt is a junior in Business

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    @MattGertsmeier