Dosunmu goes above and beyond

Dosunmu goes above and beyond

CHICAGO — A typical day for Ayo Dosunmu means a lot of basketball. 

There’s Morgan Park practices — the Mustangs are two games into their Class 3A state title defense — a regular extra workout of his own and, if he doesn’t have a game, home to catch some NBA action.

All the NBA action really.

“I watch all the basketball,” Dosunmu said. “I’ve got the NBA Gametime channel and can flip over and look at who’s killing. I’m just trying to be a student of the game.”

That means more than just casually watching the games. Dosunmu is studying the pros, picking and choosing the moves he might like to add to his own game. Like James Harden’s Euro step. 

“I like watching everything,” the Illinois signee said. “If I like a move, I replay the move and then just go in the gym and work on it.”

Dosunmu took advantage of his straight line speed with the ball in his hands Saturday in the Chicago Elite Classic. The 6-foot-5 point guard repeatedly got to the basket en route to his game-high 24 points in Morgan Park’s 82-66 victory against Champaign Central at the UIC Pavilion.

Close through three quarters, Morgan Park pulled away with a 28-point fourth quarter behind Dosunmu, Cam Burrell (20 points and 16 rebounds) and Adam Miller, another Illinois recruiting target. 

Miller hit 4 of 5 three-pointers and chipped in 18 points for the Mustangs. Grand Canyon signee Tim Finke led Central with 18 points, while freshman Khailieo Terry had 14 points, eight rebounds and a game-high four blocks.

Morgan Park’s win against Central (3-2) evened the Mustangs’ record at 1-1 after the defending 3A champs lost their opener last Sunday to Findlay Prep. The title defense is at the top of Dosunmu’s list of priorities.

It’s why he wanted to wrap up his recruiting in the fall — meaning an October commitment to Illinois he made official on Signing Day early last month.

“I wanted to get all that out the way and just focus on winning this year,” Dosunmu said. “I just want to keep working on my overall game — keep making jump shots, keep staying in the gym. Doing that will make myself a better ball player.”

Dosunmu broke a bone in his left foot during last year’s state semifinal and had to watch from the bench as Morgan Park won its third championship in five years. Mustangs coach Nick Irvin said Dosunmu is using that as motivation this season.

“He wants to get back to the moment,” Irvin said. “He can’t wait to get back to it, and he’s going to do whatever it takes for us to go back to Peoria.”

Having Miller and sophomore guard Marcus Watson as extra ball handlers means Irvin can use Dosunmu in different ways. 

“Ayo can play off the ball a lot and teams can’t run and double him out front now,” Irvin said. “The thing he needs to do is ... talk more. Lead Marcus and Adam and a few of the young guys and let them know how it is to get to this point.”

Beyond his nightly NBA viewing, Dosunmu is making sure to catch Illinois’ games when he can, too. He watched Friday night’s loss to Northwestern — a “heartbreaker” he said — on TV at home with a game of his own Saturday. He’s seeing how he can fit into first-year coach Brad Underwood’s system.

“Their system is great,” Dosunmu said. “They get after it. That defense is tremendous. We’ve just got to find a way to score more down the stretch, and we’ll be all right.”

Illinois assistant coach Chin Coleman was in Chicago on Saturday to see Morgan Park play. He stuck around for more basketball, taking in Sunrise Christian Academy (Kan.) and La Lumiere School (Ind.) as 2019 Illini targets Malik Hall and Isaiah Stewart played against each other.

Dosunmu is also working quietly behind the scenes doing a little recruiting of his own. That includes Miller, who picked up his initial Illinois offer during a strong freshman season at Peoria Manual before transferring this past summer.

“I’m working on a lot of kids,” Dosunmu said. “A lot of people would probably say I’m not a big recruiter. I just don’t do a lot of recruiting out loud. I don’t feel like commenting on somebody’s social media to make them come (to Illinois).

“You’ve got to talk to them personally. That’s what I’ve been doing. I’m a smart kid. I know I’m going to need talent around me.”