AYO DOSUNMU: Point Guard / Shooting Guard, University of Illinois
- 6’5”, 185 lbs, 20 years old, from Chicago
- Two seasons at Illinois: 32.4 minutes per game, 15.2 points per game on 46% shooting (32.9% from three, 72.6% from the free throw line), 4.2 rebounds, 1.1 steal, 3.3 assist
- THREE STATS OF STRENGTH (per Tankathon.com): Field Goal Pct. (46%), Fouls Per Game (1.8), Defensive Rebounds (3.5)
- THREE STATS TO IMPROVE: Three Point Percentage (32.9%), Steals (1.1), Assist-Turnover Ratio (1.33)
- ACCOLADES: 2019-2020 All-Big Ten First Team, 2018-2019 Big Ten All-Freshman Team
- CURRENT BIG BOARD PLACEMENTS: 66th overall (Tankathon), Unranked (Ringer), 80th overall (ESPN), 55st overall (CBSSports), 61st overall (Sports Illustrated)
Ayo Dosunmu has “Memphis” written all over him. He’s a player that isn’t the best guard prospect out there. Ayo doesn’t have much of a long range shot. Or a jump shot really either. He doesn’t commit a lot of fouls (which I’ll get into in a moment), but isn’t really a top notch defender.
But ask anyone that knows him and you’ll hear the same thing a lot. The other players in the locker room love him. Dosunmu is known to be a hard worker on and off the court. I’ve watched a lot of Illini basketball over the years and can definitely agree with that. He’s not going to blow anyone away off the dribble or make every big defensive stop, but he gets the job done.
What He Does Well
As I mentioned above, Ayo doesn’t foul a lot on defense. Which compared to some of the other Grizzlies young players, that would be a welcome improvement. While he doesn’t have the burst of a lot of the guards ranked ahead of him, he scored fairly well off the dribble and from mid-range as indicated by his field goal percentage. While he isn’t explosive, he still uses his length and athleticism to get a decent number of rebounds and be effective on defensive but not elite by any means.
Position-wise, Dosunmu spent time at both guard spots, splitting most of his time with Trent Frazier. Both Illini guards averaged over 30 minutes this past season for Brad Underwood’s team and along with fellow potential draft prospect Kofi Cockburn, had the Illini positioned for a potential deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
What He Needs to Improve
First and foremost, Ayo’s long range game is not up to par for the NBA. It’s not consistent enough right now and it’s hard to say if another year in college would really make a difference or not. While he shoots a decent percentage at the foul line, he’s simply not drawing enough fouls at the college level. That’s where the lack of explosiveness hurts his stock.
Dosunmu was also looked to as big scoring option for the team and as a result his assist numbers really aren’t where they need to be for someone that will probably find himself as a backup point guard on an NBA roster. Two to three turnovers per game when you’re playing over 30 minutes a game isn’t terrible, but when you’re only getting barely three assists they cancel each other out.
The Grizzlies have a lot of guards and wings heading into next season. Which makes the likely scenario if Ayo were drafted here, a trip to Southaven with the Hustle. Which isn’t a bad thing. It would give Ayo a good shot to work on those deficiencies. The only way he’s with the Grizzlies upon being drafted is through injury or if the Grizzlies wheel-and-deal before the draft to move up higher in the first round.
There’s just so many options that would be ahead of Ayo here that I can’t really see him in the short term being on the roster. Is he worth a two-way spot? John Konchar is a better player at this point and if you move Marko Guduric or Grayson Allen and sign Konchar, then I could see that happening. But ultimately, if the choice was Konchar, Yuta Watanabe, or Dosunmu, I think Ayo is the odd man out.
Unless some moves are made, Dosunmu probably doesn’t have space on this team as a draft choice. However, where he’s ranked at means it’s likely that he’s available after the draft to bring him into camp and sign him to the Memphis Hustle. There’s a lot of unknowns with Ayo, which is why he goes from in the 50s on some boards and isn’t even ranked on others. If he finds his long-range shot, he could be a huge steal. It all starts with which guards are on the roster heading into next season and whether he shapes up his game or not. The upside in his game may be worth taking the risk.
If the Grizzlies find themselves with a late second round pick and in a position to add a guard to the back end of the roster, you could do a lot worse than drafting Ayo Dosunmu. Ayo should be available either late 2nd or as an undrafted free agent.