CHICAGO, ILL. (WCIA) — Playing at the United Center has been a yearly tradition for Illinois basketball dating back to 1994 and that continues tonight. It’s always a big deal for Chicago natives — there are four of them on the roster this season.
For senior Aaron Jordan — it’s the last chance to play in the house that the other Jordan who wore number 23 built. AJ grew up idolizing MJ — so did freshman Ayo Dosunmu — who is getting his first chance to play here as a college athlete.
“It’s going to be fun. I’m just coming in here trying to get a W, trying to get some wins in the column,” says Dosunmu. “But of course, me playing in Chicago, being born and raised in Chicago, it’s going to be a fun feeling.”
“You know it’s going to be great. A lot of history in that building, a lot of Illinois fans are going to be there,” says Jordan. “So being able to play with this group of guys, going out there and playing hard. I’ve been doing it for four years, this will be my last one, it means a lot.”
The other two Chicago-land natives are walk-on’s Drew Cayce and Samson Oladimeji.
Illinois traditionally plays a non-conference opponent in Chicago, but athletic director Josh Whitman switched it up this year — moving a big ten game from Champaign to the UC — all in an effort to get more people in the seats.