Illinois Basketball: Ayo Dosunmu announces return to Illini

The biggest news in Illinois basketball history just broke on Friday night.

Illinois fans everywhere have been waiting on the decision of guard Ayo Dosunmu. It was either head to the NBA where he would have been a likely draft pick in the upcoming draft, or he could return to Illinois for his junior year and try for a national title.

This answer dropped on Friday night when Ayo posted a video that ended with him announcing he is returning to Champaign for one more go at a national championship. I am going to be honest, this news came as a huge surprise.

I thought when Ayo received the invitation to the NBA Combine, that was the final nail in the coffin for him returning to Illinois. That invitation usually means the kid is heading to the professional ranks. But that wasn’t the case this time around.

With everything going on in the world, this might have been a deciding factor for the talented guard. Ayo did not get a chance to play in the NCAA tournament this year because of Covid-19. He could not get properly evaluated by scouts either. That might have helped him come back to Champaign.

What is Illinois getting back with Ayo returning?

We are getting back one of the greatest players in program history. Ayo is a special talent that doesn’t come around very often. He is someone who is going to take this Illini team from a solid NCAA tournament program to an NCAA title contender.

This absolutely changes the Illinois lineup completely. I would put Ayo in the No. 1 guard slot as the main ball handler. That means Andre Curbelo would head to the backup role, but I see Curbelo still getting a lot of minutes rotating in at the other guard spots.

Illinois just instantly got better with the decision by Ayo. Kofi Cockburn is next, though. Will the big man return and make this a season one that we will not forget? I sure hope so.