Ayo Dosunmu straight up balled out with the Illinois Fighting Illini this season. The two-time All-Big Ten guard averaged 20.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists.
One of the best Big Ten college basketball players this season, he helped his team win the Big Ten Championship and was awarded the Big 10 Tournament Jim and Kitty Delany Most Outstanding Player per Big Ten Men’s Hoops.
In the Big Ten tournament, he had 23 points and five rebounds, and six assists against Rutgers, 18 points, seven rebounds, and nine dimes against Iowa, and in the final against Ohio State, he put up 16 points, nine rebounds, and four assists.
That championship game took an overtime for Dosunmu and Illinois to claim the Big Ten title.
The “#MaskedMamba” pays respect to the “Black Mamba” by posting pictures posing with the trophy in a similar way Kobe Bryant was holding the NBA Finals trophy:
Obviously, Bryant knew a thing or two about winning MVP’s and championships. The NBA Hall of Fame guard was NBA MVP, two-time Finals MVP, four-time All-Star MVP, and five-time NBA champion. But, more importantly, he was a husband, a father and family man.
Though that’s all in the NBA, Dosunmu pays his respects to one of the best basketball players to ever play the game after winning incredible accomplishments at the collegiate level.
A brief snapshot at what was a great season for Dosunmu (per the Fighting Illini site):
- Only player in the NCAA over the last 11 seasons to average at least 20 points, six rebounds and five assists
- Joins Michigan State’s Magic Johnson as the only two players in Big Ten history with multiple triple-doubles in league play
- Unanimous First-Team All-Big Ten
- Unanimous First-Team All-American by Sporting News and Sports Illustrated
- Wooden Award National Ballot
The Wooden Award he’s on the ballot for is awarded to the “most outstanding college basketball player in the United States” per the award’s site. Of course, the award is named after one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time:
“Coach John Wooden’s ideas of the ‘total basketball player’ inspired the design of the John R. Wooden Award trophy,” the award’s site says. “The trophy features five figures, each depicting one of the five major skills of the ‘total’ basketball player: rebounding, passing, defense, shooting and dribbling.”
Dosunmu rocks a face mask on the court as he missed “three games with a concussion and facial injuries…(and) returned March 6 wearing a protective mask he chose because it makes him look a little like a superhero” according to the News-Herald.
The guard sure is playing like a superhero. But, like any good superhero who has that “mamba mentality”, he’s not done yet.
“‘Job not finished’…#MaskedMamba,” Dosunmu said in the post while also posting a picture of the press conference where Bryant said this:
Charlie Lapastora is a sports/news multimedia journalist who’s reported, written, produced, anchored, shot video/edited on different NBC, ABC, and FOX shows in multiple TV markets, along with digital & new media companies. Charlie has traveled the country telling national sports, news, feature, and original stories on a cable news network, airing on top 10 TV markets, satellite radio, and digital platforms. He is passionate about his faith, family—being a husband to whom he calls the G.O.A.T. of women—about reppin’ his home state of Michigan and Detroit teams (yes, including the Lions), good coffee, and loves how sports brings people together. He’s traveled the world leading and coaching sports camps and has also worked at the Detroit Pistons and LA Clippers’ NBA teams.
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