College/Prep Sports Reporter

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

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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.

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Ayo Dosunmu arrived on the Illinois campus in the summer of 2018 with an approach vertical that allowed the then-top 30 prospect to touch 10 feet, 6 1 / 2 inches. Just enough for the 6-foot-5 guard to dunk. Barely.

Here’s how far Dosunmu’s come in regards to his above-the-rim athleticism. By the end of this summer, he was touching 11-8. A significant vertical jump increase.

Here’s how it happened.

“When we got him he was overtrained,” Illinois strength and conditioning coach Adam Fletcher said. “He had just done too much, and he could barely dunk a basketball. The increase happened because we backed off the volume, and we allowed his body to recover.

“He had just done so much. He came from USA Basketball. He played on the (Nike EYBL) circuit. There was so much activity that he was doing that it had just run his body down. We just had to allow him to recover more so than anything else. Then allow him to start building his body back up.”

Dosunmu’s body transformation has also included some weight gain in the last year. Good weight. The Illini sophomore is significantly stronger than he was a season ago, and it’s shown in his bench press, which is the metric used at the NBA Draft Combine.

“At 185, he did it one rep last year,” Fletcher said. “This year he did it 15 reps, so he’s up 14 reps on his 185, which is very competitive at the NBA Draft Combine. For his position specifically, he would be one of the top two in this year’s draft.

“That’s his strength number. His vertical jump numbers have obviously gone up, and really just the health of his body. Last year was the first year in the last three of his playing career where he made it a full season healthy.”

News-Gazette