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 until practice tips off. (Click here to send him questions).
Ayo Dosunmu is listed at 6-foot-5 and 185 pounds on the Illinois roster. The sophomore guard has gotten bigger (or at least broader) this offseason — even if his weight hasn’t changed — but he’d still like to bulk up a little more. Nutrition has been as important as anything the Chicago native has done since the end of his freshman year.
“I’ve been eating right,” Dosunmu said. “Instead of eating one time, I’m eating about three or four times a day. Drinking a lot of water. Eating the right stuff and staying healthy.”
Dosunmu and the Illini have been working with a new team sports dietitian, Emily Danckers, this summer. He calls her “the best nutritionist in the country.”
“She always motivates me to eat when I’m really not hungry,” Dosunmu said. “Whenever I do go home, she’ll pack a great snack bag. She came right in and didn’t miss a beat. She got close to everyone very fast. The nutrition, that’s a big part, so me having a good relationship with her is a big part of trying to get where I want to go.”
Dosunmu’s diet is geared toward weight gain. The number of calories he burns in a day when the extra work he puts in by himself, in addition to the team’s scheduled workouts, makes it a challenge.
“I’m really trying to gain weight, so really I can eat anything,” Dosunmu said. “We just try to avoid fried food and stuff. But I’m on the weight gain, so they wouldn’t really care if I had a burger every now and then.
“It is a bit challenging. The same way you work out, you have to eat. If you’re not hungry, you’ve still got to eat. You’ve got to drink water. Drink protein shakes. I’m getting better and better at it. I have a lot of people in my corner helping me get bigger and stronger.”