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‘Mr. Why Not Me’ Is Staying Home

Morgan Park’s Ayo Dosunmu is looking to start a new trend with commitment to University Of Illinois

Morgan Park’s Ayo Dosunmu is looking to start a new trend with commitment to University Of Illinois(John L. Alexander/ The Bigs Visuals)

In recent years, you’d be hard pressed to find a high school basketball scene in the country that has groomed more elite talent than Chicago.

Sheron Collins in ’06 from Crane, Derrick Rose ’07 and Jabari Parker ’13 from Simeon, Jahlil Okafor in ’14 from Whitney Young, Wayne Blackshear ’11 and Charlie Moore ’16 from Morgan Park, just to name of few, have all held the title of #1 player in their respective high school classes. With all of this homegrown talent right in their backyard, it's fair to think that in-state Universities like the University of Illinois, DePaul University, and Northwestern would be prime landing spots for the top Chicago ball players.

Think again.

One other similarity of this group is that when it came time to choose a college to attend, they all opted to attend out-of-state schools that provided what they viewed as a bigger stage to showcase their talents. The Duke’s. The North Carolina’s. The John Calipari's and Rick Pitino’s have all done a better job at recruiting Chicago talent, and local institutions have been left with the responsibility to answer one question: When will the trend of Chicago hoopers leaving town end? Now we have the answer.

“I’m committed to Illinois now and forever,” said Ayo Dosunmu, the #1 player in the state of Illinois after committing to the University Of Illinois last Thursday night at Station 23 on State St. in downtown Chicago. The Morgan Park Mustang is the newest “Fighting Illini” and now local hoop heads are hoping Ayo starts a new trend of homegrown talent staying home.“It’s a lot of 5 Star recruits from Illinois who didn’t stay home and went elsewhere. Their careers were still successful, but that’s the route they chose to take. I chose to take another path,” Ayo told me. “I want to do it in my home state in front of my hometown fans.”

Ayo wasn’t always highly touted. Coming into high school, he wasn’t ranked and he largely flew under the radar. But Morgan Park head coach Nick Irvin always saw something special in Dosunmu. “Ayo is a great person, one of the best kids I’ve ever been around on and off the court,” said Morgan Park head coach Nick Irvin.Irvin says Ayo is the right person to start the trend of local Chicago talent staying in state. “When a kid like Ayo commits to Illinois, it means a lot. He’s showing everybody it's ok to go there. He’s just trying to change the way people think about Illinois. It was a great day for the state when he committed.”

With Ayo’s commitment, new Illinois head coach Brad Underwood has his “must get” recruit. “He told me I can come in and play right away. He told me that I can play the most minutes out of any freshman in the country and that he was ready to put the ball in my hands,” said Ayo.

“At the end of the day, I wanted leave my legacy here. I’m gonna do it in my home state. Why not me? Why Not Me?" The popular phrase that has come to represent Ayo’s approach on and off the court, now has new meaning as he will be the chosen one to change the narrative. The next generation of Chicago hoopers will surely be keeping a close eye on “Mr. Why Not Me?”




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