Illinois Basketball: Review of the Illini point guard outlook

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Illinois basketball

ANN ARBOR, MI – JANUARY 25: Illinois Fighting Illini guard Ayo Dosunmu (11) celebrates after scoring the game-winning basket during a regular season Big Ten Conference game between the Illinois Fighting Illini (21) and the Michigan Wolverines on January 25, 2020, at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Illinois defeated Michigan 64-62. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


What if I told you the Illinois starting and backup point guards had a combined eight stars coming out of high school and both were top 50 recruits in their respective class?

That is the current situation Illinois fans find themselves in with the 2020-21 rendition of the Fighting Illini. Led by none other than Ayo Dosunmu himself, the Orange and Blue are set up for a tremendous season with more wins than we have seen in recent memory.

Ayo, a four-star in his own right, came out of Morgan Park High School as the No. 32 player in the class of 2018. His high ranking landed some sizable expectations squarely on his shoulders to help build the home-state team back into a winner again.

While it is hard to live up to that high of a ranking, the talented point guard has managed to bust through and exceed all expectations. A solid freshman year stat-wise led to a legendary sophomore campaign that featured the Illini heading back to the postseason for the first time in a half-decade.

Averaging 16.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game, Ayo looks to add to those numbers as he has returned for his junior season with the Illini. He won’t only return to Champaign after putting up those impressive stats, but Ayo is also going to be up there for Big Ten and National Player of the Year.

Needless to say, Ayo is going to be starting at point guard for Illinois this season.

There is little doubt about Ayo’s backup, though. While the experience at the college level isn’t there yet, the 6-foot, 170-pound Andre Curbelo should step foot on the Illinois campus and take over the backup No. 1 guard duties.

A four-star recruit coming out of Long Island Lutheran High School, Curbelo had all of the recruiting attention one would want. With roughly 22 scholarship offers and a ton of attention, Curbelo ended his recruitment on November 13, 2019, when he officially signed with the Illini.

The fire Curbelo brings to the court, along with his tremendous ball-handling and scoring abilities, should make him a great second option to Ayo this upcoming season. The two will form one of the best point guard rotations the Illinois basketball program has ever seen.

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