The role of family, and Ayo Dosunmu’s decision to return


(WCIA) — There are more than 300,000 views on Ayo Dosunmu’s viral video announcing his return to Illinois, but his grandfather was one of the first people he told that he was coming back to Illinois.

“That was the first time it actually came out of my mouth,” says Dosunmu. “I told him, ‘I’m going to come back for my junior year.'”

Even head coach Brad Underwood didn’t know until he dropped the video. Ayo kept his decision tight to his chest, and leaned on his family to make one of the most important choices of his life.

“Pretty much everything he does, he seeks advice from someone, because he is the baby” says Ayo’s mom Jamarra. “We just wanted to make sure that he understood that although yes, we’re a family and we want to help you make this decision it’s your decision. So the anxiety that Illini Nation felt, we also did to.”

Jamarra said he interviewed with a few NBA teams this summer, but ultimately with the draft and combine up in the air due to the pandemic, he decided to come back to Champaign.

“It’s the way of life it’s about adjusting and not thinking about what couldn’t happened or what should have happened, but just playing the cards that we’re dealt,” says Dosunmu. “I’m not chasing the NBA, I’m chasing greatness and with me being great I know my time will come.”

While his NBA dreams will wait another year, the Chicago-native still hasn’t led the Illini to the Big Dance, and he wants that to be a part of his legacy.

“I just want them to start, it’s been a crazy year in so many different areas, and with him going back with all the expectations that are on them,” says Jamarra.

“When I committed here I said I wanted to help turn the program around, and I think we’re right there and now it’s time to just execute,” says Dosunmu.

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