After what has been a frustrating start to the 2018 recruiting class, Illini fans can finally rejoice. Brad Underwood has caught a fish. And a pretty big one at that.
Illinois had high expectations the past month or two. Guys like Landers Nolley, George Conditt, Colin Castleton, and others were all on the priority list. But after striking out on each of the aforementioned recruits, Brad Underwood landed the guy highest on that priority list, Ayo Dosunmu.
A five-star point guard out of Morgan Park High School (Chicago), Dosunmu is surrounded with a lot of hype. The last time Illinois landed a five-star recruit from Chicago? Think back to Dee Brown. Brown was named Mr. Basketball, Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Illinois, and he was also a McDonald’s All-American among many other accolades. All of these awards and recognitions are realistic expectations for Dosunmu entering his senior season.
Brown was coined “The One-Man Fast Break” for his capability to get himself from coast-to-coast so frequently. This is a style of play Brad Underwood loves, and it also just so happens to be something Ayo Dosunmu is very, very good at.
Dosunmu averaged 22 points per game, nine assists, and seven rebounds en route to a Class 3A state championship last season.
Underwood has big plans for his newest combo guard. Ayo is shifty, athletic and finishes well for his size, or lack thereof. He has shown the ability to get to the rim virtually whenever he wants and has a respectable jump shot in his arsenal as well. Dosunmu will be playing alongside Mark Smith, last year’s Mr. Basketball, Da’Monte Williams, Trent Frazier, and Te’Jon Lucas. Although we haven’t seen any of these guys play for Underwood, and we’ve only seen Lucas play in college, there is a lot of buzz around this corps already. At any given time, Illinois’ backcourt will consist of multiple four/five-star, top 100 recruits and potentially consecutive Illinois Mr. Basketballs. Coach Underwood will run any mixture of these guys at one time, and that should present match-up nightmares for opposing teams. Dosunmu and Co. will run rampant in Underwood’s offense. He has said many times before that he wants his teams to score in the first seven seconds. Dosunmu embodies the fastbreak, and he will punish defenses for not getting back.
Illinois fans are about to get the type of backcourt they haven’t seen in 13 years.