Editorial | Good news on hoops

Editorial | Good news on hoops

UI men's basketball coach Brad Underwood has one less thing to worry about.

The longest journey begins with but one step. In the case of a return to college basketball respectability, it's one step plus the return of a talented freshman guard some people thought might opt to go pro.

That's why University of Illinois basketball fans are celebrating last week's announcement by Ayo Dosunmu that he intends to return to the team for his sophomore season.

Some thought Dosunmu might test the NBA waters, perhaps even formally enter the upcoming draft. But Dosunmu said he intends to play another year with the goal of improving his game and helping the Fighting Illini get back into the NCAA Tournament.

There is no question that Dosunmu is an exceptionally talented college basketball player who has the potential to be an excellent pro. He averaged nearly 14 points a game as a freshman, also contributing with rebounds, steals and assists.

Those who watched him play saw him do more than pile up statistics. He brought excitement to the game, while showing a maturity mostly found in upperclassmen.

That kind of talent generates considerable speculation about a professional career and the money that goes with it. That's why so many college hoops underclassmen are right now making themselves available for the draft, even though the number of draft slots is limited.

Many of them will be back in college for the 2019-20 season because, at this stage in their athletic endeavors, their ambitions and self-regard vastly exceed the talent and physical strength it takes to complete against the phenomenal athletes in the NBA.

No one could fault Dosumnu if he had taken a deeper look into entering the draft. After all, it's business, and he has an obligation to himself and his family to consider his options.

But there's always next year, when he'll be better than ever and a pro career will be much more of a likelihood.

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