College/Prep Sports Reporter

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

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Robin Scholz/The News-Gazette Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu (11) drives around Hawaii 's guard Samuta Avea (32) in a NCAA basketball game at the State Farm Center in Champaign on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019.

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Welcome to “Good Morning, Illini Nation,” your daily dose of college basketball news from Illini beat writer and AP Top 25 voter Scott Richey. He’ll offer up insights every morning on Brad Underwood’s team:

We made it through the first month of the season — mostly. A few teams will play as November comes to a close. Illinois, though, won't be back on the court until Monday's Big Ten/ACC Challenge game against Miami at State Farm Center.

Is one month in too soon to start thinking ahead toward June and the 2020 NBA Draft? No. Never. Especially when you consider the first 2020 mocks came out the day after the 2019 draft this past June.

Illinois hasn't had a player drafted since Meyers Leonard went No. 11 to the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2012 draft. Only two other former Illini other than Leonard — Brandon Paul and Kendrick Nunn — have played in the league since Deron Williams hung it up after the 2016-17 season.

Ayo Dosunmu could well be the next. The projections for the 6-foot-5 sophomore guard vary, though. Recent mock drafts earlier this month by CBS Sports and Sporting News have Dosunmu as a first rounder, but not in the lottery. The mock at, however, has Dosunmu going toward the middle of the second round.

CBS Sports projection — 23rd overall pick

"Dosunmu excels in transition but is still trying to shed his label of a streaky and unreliable shooter. His ability to theoretically play either guard spot at the next level gives him a chance to make it."

Sporting News projection — 19th overall pick

"Dosunmu is a quality shot creator with the potential to be a secondary ball-handler in an NBA lineup. His best work currently comes in transition. He’ll need to show more in the half-court as a sophomore at Illinois where he can be expected to pile up stats after averaging 13.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game last season."

Scott Richey covers college basketball for The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).