Ayo: Illinois is 'home'

Ayo: Illinois is 'home'

Hear more from Ayo Saturday at 9 on WDWS.

CHICAGO — No hat tricks. No last minute changes. No drama.

A black and white video played on a projection screen on the upper level of the Jordan Brand store in downtown Chicago just after 7 p.m. on Thursday. In it, Morgan Park point guard Ayo Dosunmu thanked his family, coaches and friends.

Then the five-star Class of 2018 recruit emerged from a back room behind the screen wearing a bright white "Block I" Illinois polo while cheers went up from the nearly 100 people in attendance.

"It was tough," Dosunmu said about his final decision to choose Illinois rather than Wake Forest. "I chose to stay home. At the end of the day, I had a chance to build my legacy. I feel like I'm the best point guard in the country. I want to prove it in my home state."

Dosunmu's official visit to Illinois this past weekend helped him make his decision. Questions he had were answered. Boxes were checked.

"It sealed the deal, but I was already liking Illinois," Dosunmu said. "Being at home. The offense they run. (First-year coach Brad Underwood's) record. It all helped."

The official visit also helped Dosunmu's parents, Quam and Jamarra, feel secure about their son's decision. For Quam Dosunmu, a basketball coach, it was Xs and Os and being close to Chicago.

"It's home," Quam Dosunmu said. "Anybody that knows us, knows him since he was a kid, we're always about home. About loyalty. It was time to get Illinois back on the map. He believes in his hard work and talent.”

For Jamarra Dosunmu, it was the feeling she got from the Illinois coaches. It was a relationship she built during her son's recruitment and solidified this weekend.

"For me, it was the family aspect," she said. "It wasn't about the frills. It wasn't that part, but it was the interacting with the coaches, with their families and seeing how the team interacts with the coaches. That was important for me to see was genuine, that it wasn't for show."

Dosunmu — Illinois' first commit in the 2018 class — will give the Illini another talented, versatile guard in the backcourt. He said he's already had conversations with Mark Smith where they decided they could be the best backcourt in the country.

Any combination of Dosunmu, Smith, Da'Monte Williams, Trent Frazier and Te'Jon Lucas could be dangerous for the Illini.

"See, that's scary," Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin said. "Coach Underwood wants them scoring in 7 seconds, and with those guards who basically can play on and off the ball, that's scary. It reminds me of Dee (Brown), Luther (Head) and Deron (Williams)."

Dosunmu's commitment erases some of the sting of past Illinois recruiting misses. Years of top point guards opting for anywhere but Illinois was snapped when Mark Smith chose the Illini in the spring. Dosunmu makes Underwood 2 for 2.

"The (Illinois) coaches did a great job," Irvin said. "We really got to know Coach Underwood and gave him a chance to recruit (Dosunmu), and he did his job. ... It's a great day for Illinois basketball. You have a number of players could have stayed. they chose to go elsewhere. The difference between the decision Ayo made, he wanted to embrace the moment. He loves the moment."

Jamarra Dosunmu jokingly said Thursday night's announcement was one of relief. It was also one of pride for her son and her family.

"It's another accomplishment he can say, 'I've put in the work and I'm enjoying some of the fruits of my labor,' " she said. "He has a long way to go. But to know you've gotten through the recruiting process, through all of the rankings, camps, showcases and shootouts and you've come to a place where you've found a home for your secondary education is amazing."

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UIUCHoopFan wrote on October 19, 2017 at 11:10 pm

Jordan Brand store?

In lieu of recent developments between NCAA institutions and the FBI, perhaps the high school would have been a more appropriate venue for the announcement. Broadcasting from a downtown Nike retail outlet just looks bad.

BruckJr wrote on October 20, 2017 at 8:10 am

Good point.

OrlandoIllini wrote on October 20, 2017 at 9:10 am

What? Next are you going to criticize the shirt he wore, or that he announced on a Thursday evening?

Who are you guys... clones of Rev. Lovejoy from the Simpsons?

mrseeu2 wrote on October 20, 2017 at 8:10 am

Who cares where he announces.  He could have announced this at Toys R' Us.  Don't miss the point here, he chose us.  This is time for celebration not petty critiques   Thank you so very, very much Ayo for selecting Illinois.  We welcome you to Champaign and to our family.  We are so very happy to have you here.  It's time to win, and I believe we will.

Objective Reporter wrote on October 20, 2017 at 1:10 pm