The Chicago Bulls may have gotten a steal on Thursday night when they selected hometown product Ayo Dosunmu with the 38th pick in the NBA Draft.
The Morgan Park High School graduate and University of Illinois alum slipped into the second round, and the Bulls made the feel-good selection that will allow the young man, whose parents are Nigerian immigrants, to remain home to start his NBA career.
According to NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson, Bulls Vice President of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley didn’t expect Dosunmu to be available at No. 38.
Karnisovas told the media after the selection, Dosunmu’s versatility is what stood out most during their evaluations.
“He does a little bit of everything,” Karnišovas said. “He does a lot of scoring. He (averages) 5 assists and 6 rebounds, steals. He’s versatile, long, 6-10 wingspan, 6-5 (height). So he has size. He’s a combo guard. We rely on versatility and that’s what we’re looking forward to see.”
Statistically, his versatility was evident as Dosunmu proved to be a stat-sheet stuffer during his junior season at Illinois.
The two-time All-Big Ten selection averaged 20.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He connected on 39 percent of his three-point attempts and just a shade over 78 percent of his free throws.
You may be wondering how a player from a major conference who put up that sort of statline, and who also unanimously impressed front offices across the league with his readiness during interviews could slip out of the first round.
Dosunmu sounded equally as confused, but he believes God’s plan was for him to stay in Chicago. He said this during an interview with Cody Westerlund of 670 The Score after being drafted:
“I know I’m a first-round talent. But you can’t (ever know) what God has planned for you. And God wanted me to play for my city. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m embracing it.”
For the most part, the social media reaction to Dosunmu’s selection was positive.
Twitter Reaction to the Bulls Selecting Ayo Dosunmu
The pro-Bulls social media account Arturas Karnisovas Fan Club was one of many in the Twitterverse to call the Bulls’ selection of Dosunmu a steal. He tweeted this along with his breakdown of the pick:
Dosunmu told the media Bulls star Zach LaVine had already texted him to offer his congratulations to his newest teammate, per NBC Sports Chicago’s Rob Schaefer:
Chicago sports reporter Daniel Greenberg spoke with Romelo Burrell, a former high school teammate of Dosunmu, and he said, “the Chicago Bulls are definitely getting hard worker. Ayo’s work ethic is one of the best that I’ve seen. He is always hungry to get better.”
It is difficult to find negative reaction to the selection throughout Bulls nation.
What Scouts Say About Ayo Dosunmu
According to most scouts you’ll find, Dosunmu isn’t considered an explosive athlete, but his handle, body control, length and an array of craft finishes near the basket and from the mid-range helped him become a dangerous offensive weapon on the college level.
Synergy Sports provided this bi of info on Dosunmu on NBA.com:
An improved scorer and heady passer, Dosunmu blossomed in a massive offensive role as a junior. Ranking among the most prolific open-court scorers in college basketball, playing on the ball more frequently than he did as a sophomore, making strides as a pick and roll passer, scoring prolifically from the midrange, finishing steadily around the rim, and carrying the Illini for stretches when his jumper was falling, Dosunmu was a workhorse on the offensive end
In the pros, there are some concerns about whether he will be able to consistently beat NBA defenders off the dribble to get to his spots. He is a strong defender who works hard and uses his length. He also rebounds well from the guard spot and he flashes the ability to play both backcourt positions. Can he supplant Coby White at some point, or will the latter even be a part of the roster next season?
The selection of Dosunmu answers just one of a slew of questions facing the Bulls roster heading into next season. As it is, Dosunmu’s arrival in Chicago (or perhaps we should call it a stay) is a good start to what most Bulls fans hope will be a fruitful offseason.