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Checking in on Ayo Dosunmu’s third NBA season

He’s a bench piece for the Bulls.

In-Season Tournament - Chicago Bulls v Toronto Raptors Photo by Vaughn Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images

If you’re not paying attention to the NBA, the league is now heading into its first “In-Season Tournament,” which is certainly a thing.

With about 20 games in the books, it feels like a good time to check on the one former Illini still in the association, Ayo Dosunmu.

Now in his third season with the Bulls, Ayo signed a three-year deal worth upwards of $21 million over the summer. That’s big money for a guy who was picked in the second round of the 2021 Draft, but it means he has to play for the Bulls who are still pretty bad.

After exceeding expectations during his rookie season in 2021-22, Dosunmu took a step back in his second year with the Bulls. Even though he played in 80 games (51 starts), he only averaged 8.6 points, 2.6 assists, and 2.8 rebounds per game — all nearly identical from his breakout first season. Basically, there wasn’t a step forward.

And there hasn’t really been a step forward either this season, with so many guards on the roster. He’s playing just 15 minutes a game, down more than 10 minutes from the average during his first two seasons. He’s scoring just 5.5 points per game on 46.7% shooting and 37.1% from three. Those aren’t bad stats, but the sample size is pretty small.

I’m not sure what’s next for Ayo, and it definitely was a dream scenario for him to land with his hometown team — and now be locked up with them for the first five years of his career — but it seems like a change of scenery would probably be best to allow his career to grow a little more.