Dosunmu: 'I can change the culture'

Dosunmu: 'I can change the culture'

The recruiting process can get overwhelming for high-major basketball recruits.

Like Ayo Dosunmu.

But the lone Class of 2018 commit right now for Illinois didn’t feel that way before he ultimately picked Illinois on Thursday night.

“I really enjoyed the process,” said Dosunmu, who appeared on WDWS 1400-AM’s “Saturday SportsTalk,” show with Michael Kiser and Loren Tate. “I had a great process, but I’m back to working in the gym two to three times a day and just getting with my team and bonding to get more and more chemistry for my first game.”

That first game is slated for Nov. 26, with the 6-foot-4 Dosunmu ready to lead Morgan Park as the Mustangs vie for their second straight Class 3A state championship.

Dosunmu averaged 22 points, nine assists and seven rebounds last season for Morgan Park, but fractured his left foot during the Mustangs’ 3A state semifinal win against Springfield Lanphier.

He had to sit and watch Morgan Park win a state title without him on the court that Saturday in mid-March, the same day Brad Underwood was hired at Illinois.

Seven months later, Dosunmu is the biggest recruit Underwood — who also signed 2017 Mr. Basketball winner and News-Gazette All-State Player of the Year Mark Smith in April — has landed in his brief tenure with the Illini.

“I just knew that doing my research on how he coached fits my game, plus I can do it in my home state,” Dosunmu said. “He plays fast. After I talked to my family, I knew this was the place to be.”

Dosunmu added the relationship he had with Illinois assistant coach Chin Coleman dating to Coleman’s time at Illinois-Chicago — the first school to offer a scholarship to Dosunmu — played a factor.

And getting the chance to play two hours south of Chicago, an unpopular notion to prominent Chicago Public League players in the recent past, is something Dosunmu seems eager to embrace.

“There haven’t been a lot of five-stars that have done it, so why not me?” Dosunmu asked rhetorically, invoking the popular ‘Why Not Me,’ phrase that came to define his recruitment. “I think I can change the culture. Hopefully, I will change the culture. Then five-stars can say they don’t need to go to an out-of-state school and those big programs. I can do it here in my home state and still make it to the NBA. That’s what I envision. That’s my dream to do it in front of my home state.”