The Bulls are having a championship-caliber season. Unfortunately, Patrick Williams, the only true power forward on the roster, has been out of the lineup due to a wrist injury from the beginning of the season. The injury required surgery and was described as “season-ending”. As such, the Bulls have been prone to playing a lineup of four guards and a center.
Fans of the Chicago Bulls, as well as viewers of their nationally broadcast games, are witnessing the emergence of a very special player.
Bulls’ rookie guard Ayo Dosunmu is going to be a great NBA on-court leader one day. He’s still a rookie and a very humble young man, but he repeatedly shows a maturity beyond his years when on the court.
DeMar DeRozan is having an MVP season. He is a great player and an upstanding family man, yet there are times on the court when his temper flares. On more than one occasion, it has been Ayo stepping in and steering his mentor away from the refs so he doesn’t get a technical. That’s the maturity of a veteran in a player.
Ayo was selected in the 2021 draft in the second round with the 38th pick by the Chicago Bulls. Despite falling in the draft to the second round, Ayo has already become a valuable role player on the best team in the East. He is an excellent ball handler, he has a wicked slash to the basket, he can distribute the ball from the point guard position, he can be equally effective as a shooting guard playing off the ball, and he is guaranteed money on 3-pointers from the corner. He is the real deal and is only getting better!
Ayo is the U.S. born son of Nigerian immigrants. He hails from Chicago and had an outstanding high school basketball career. As a freshman at Westinghouse College Prep he scored 40-points in a game against rival Crane High School. In both his junior and senior years at Morgan Park High School, he led his team to the 3A State Championship. He was also named a Consensus first-team All-State selection his senior year.
Ayo, which means “joy” in the African Yoruba language, played his college ball for the Fighting Illini just down the road at University of Illinois-Urbana. He was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team. In his sophomore year, he was named First Team All-Big Ten by the media. After testing the waters of the 2020 NBA Draft, he returned to the Illini for his junior season. Not only was Ayo a consensus All-American, he also won the Bob Cousy Award – which goes to the nation’s top point guard.
In acknowledgement of all his accomplishments as a player, the University of Illinois retired Ayo’s number 11 in a ceremony on January 6, 2022, and you know who was there? DeMar DeRozan – the teammate Ayo saved from getting a technical. That’s an amazing sign of respect by an amazing player in DeRozan.
Is this what you would expect of a second round pick?
Sometimes, great players fall in the draft. One of my favorite players from my childhood was Clifford “Uncle Cliffy” Robinson. He was a hot prospect who for some reason fell in the 1989 draft. The Portland Trailblazers scooped him up in the second round. He went on to play in the finals in his rookie year and again in 1992. He also won the Sixth Man of the Year Award for the 1992-93 season and was selected as an All Star in 1994. He made an impact in the NBA for a total of 18 seasons. Talk about a draft day steal!
Ayo has developed so quickly there is rumor that the Bulls could look to trade 2019 draft pick Coby White for a true power forward needed for a championship run this season.
I am a huge Coby White fan and would hate to see him go. However, without a power forward the Bulls don’t have much chance of a championship this season.
I guess it will come down to Artūras Karnišovas and Marc Eversley in the Bulls front office deciding if they want to make a trade and go for the trophy this year, or keep the nucleus intact and pursue a championship with Patrick Williams at full strength next year.
Either way, Ayo Dosunmu has proven himself to be the steal of the 2021 draft.
I look forward to watching Ayo grow and flourish as the Chicago Bulls pursue their championship aspirations. He’s fun to watch and the kind of person kids can look up to. In my book, that matters.
Peace. Love. Trust.
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