CHAMPAIGN — Brad Underwood frequently referred to as Ayo Dosunmu among the finest guards in school basketball through the 2019-20 season.

It was an more and more becoming moniker given Dosunmu knocked down game-winner after game-winner to push the Illini into the Large Ten’s high tier and into nationwide recognition as a ranked group.

Underwood was a bit forward of the sport.

Dosunmu ended the 2019-20 season as an All-Large Ten First-Staff guard. He’s beginning the 2020-21 season not solely as a unanimous preseason All-Large Ten choice, however certainly one of simply six Related Press preseason All-Individuals. The most recent particular person accolade thrown Dosunmu’s method was introduced on Wednesday.

The junior standout for Illinois joins an elite group that additionally options Iowa senior heart Luka Garza, Baylor junior guard Jared Butler, Oklahoma State freshman guard Cade Cunningham and, in a tie for the ultimate spot, Gonzaga senior ahead Corey Kispert and Arizona State senior guard Remy Martin. Garza was the lone unanimous choice from the 64 AP voters, which included a vote from The Information-Gazette.

Underwood noticed Dosunmu’s inclusion as nicely deserved.

“I believe it speaks volumes to the event that we’ve seen,” Underwood mentioned Wednesday afternoon. “We’ve seen a younger man acquire 35 kilos. We’ve seen a younger man proceed to develop and enhance his recreation from one 12 months to the following.

“We’re going to see an unbelievable Ayo Dosunmu this 12 months and a man that has labored very, very onerous. He was among the finest guards within the nation final 12 months on the finish of the 12 months. There was little doubt about that. He’s prepared to select up the place he left off.”

Dosunmu is amongst uncommon firm at Illinois in the case of his AP preseason All-American honor. He’s the primary in Champaign since Dee Brown was chosen forward of the 2005-06 season. Brown can also be the Illini’s final All-American normally, having earned second-team honors as a senior after being a consensus first group All-American through the 2004-05 nationwide runner-up season.

Dosunmu averaged 16.6 factors, 4.3 rebounds and three.3 assists in 2019-20, main Illinois in each scoring and assists. His determination to return for his junior season, although, raised each the ground and ceiling for what the Illini would possibly accomplish. The group’s rating at No. 8 within the preseason AP High 25 makes that evident.

Having Dosunmu again one other season may assist additional this system, too. Underwood has already raised his expectations for the way a lot the Chicago native will lead the group. That features younger guards like Adam Miller and Andre Curbelo — the longer term Illini backcourt.

“To get a man like that as a junior, who’s been via all of it … and performed it for expertise, that speaks volumes to the expansion of these guys,” Underwood mentioned. “There’s little doubt what an excellent function mannequin (he’s). It’s what basketball was once again within the day. You realized out of your veterans. You realized what this system was about. You realized what it took. You matured. You noticed the expansion. You adopted their path.”

Underwood doesn’t count on Dosunmu — or senior guard Trent Frazier — to make it simple on their youthful teammates both.

“Ayo and Trent are assassins,” Underwood mentioned. “There isn’t a play off in apply. They attempt to embarrass you. They don’t care how huge or how good or what number of stars or what you’re. They attempt to embarrass you.

“Now that they see that’s our tradition, and it’s an on a regular basis man factor. Now they’re making an attempt to do it and now it turns into ultra-competitive. That spurs improvement and progress.”

{p class=”card-about”}Scott Richey is a reporter overlaying school basketball at The Information-Gazette. His e-mail is, and you’ll observe him on Twitter (@srrichey).

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