WCIA — One of the greatest Illinois basketball players of all time has a signature award to go along with his illustrious career. Ayo Dosunmu was named the USA TODAY National Player of the Year on Wednesday, edging out Iowa’s Luka Garza and Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham for the top spot.
Dosunmu is the first Illini to earn a National Player of the Year award since Dee Brown was selected by Sporting News in 2005. Dosunmu becomes the fifth Illini ever to receive Player of the Year recognition, joining Brown as the only two to do so in the modern era.
“I couldn’t be happier and I told the team at practice,” Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said after his team had its only workout at Indiana Farmers Coliseum on Wednesday. “You love seeing good things happen to good people. It’s a special moment, there’s only one of those and there’s a lot of people playing basketball. That young man is very worthy, he’s had a phenomenal year and very deserving of that award.”
In addition to being named Player of the Year, Dosunmu claimed a spot on USA TODAY’s All-America first-team while Illini sophomore Kofi Cockburn was named to the paper’s second team.