CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois sophomore basketball player Ayo Dosunmu and senior volleyball player Jacqueline Quade are the 2020 Dike Eddleman Athletes of the Year. The annual awards recognize the best male and female Illini athlete.
Dosunmu is just the third men’s basketball player in the last 50 years to win the award and first since 2005, when Deron Williams took the top spot. The only other player in the last five decades was Kendall Gill in 1990.
“It’s a tremendous accomplishment to win an award that’s so prestigious that only a handful of people have won,” Dosunmu said during a media Zoom session on Wednesday. “Just to be in the category of those Illini legends, I’m humbled and thankful and grateful for because I know how many great athletes there is, how many great sports there is, so winning this award is just a great honor.”
Dosunmu led the Illini to a turnaround season, going from 21 losses a year ago to 21 wins this season. The Chicago native was named a First team All-Big Ten selection, averaging a team high 16.6 points per game.
Quade was named an All-American once again as a senior, leading the Illini to the NCAA tournament for the third straight season. The outside hitter paced Illinois’ attack, with a Big Ten Conference high 4.21 kills per set. That mark ranked 32nd in the NCAA, as the Indiana native totaled 497 kills on the season, with a .214 hitting percentage. Quade also served up the fourth-most aces in the conference with 44, while leading the league with 568.5 points, good enough for 20th in the nation.
“Illinois is full of so many amazing people, so many amazing athletes, so just to be honored in this way by the school is such a great honor,” Quade said on Zoom with local media. “Especially, for most Illinois athletes we can all agree, Illinois has a special place in our heart so the reward coming from there I think makes it mean all the much more.”
This is the third straight year an Illini volleyball player has won the award for top female athlete. Setter Jordyn Poulter took the last two awards.