Minutes after hitting a game-winning jumper, Illinois shield Ayo Dosunmu was asked what basketball star he watched and could take moves from in this kind of situation. The very first name out of this 20-year-old’s mouth was”Kobe”.
Dosunmu, that has come to be a designated late-game closer together with being the team’s top scorer, once again led Illinois to a road victory at Michigan Saturday as he drained a game-winning contested jump shot with 0.5 seconds left to give the Illini a 64-62 win.
One special (player) would be Kobe or (Michael) Jordan because late-game they’re doing one, two motions and then getting to their spot and elevate. Kobe, when he hit that shot against the Suns in the playoffs of the tip he got to his spot, raised. Jordan, get to his place, raise. I’d say those guys.”
Less than 24 hours after his second at Ann Arbor, Mich., among Dosunmu’s basketball heroes expired. Kobe Bryant, along with numerous individuals including Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, died Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. Bryant has been 41 years old.
Dosunmu was just six years old on the day of Bryant’s game-winner in Game 4 of the 2006 first-round series against the Phoenix Suns but used that memory of a fall-a-way jumper to give the Lakers a 3-1 series lead to spelling out his thinking Saturday to provide the Illini a triumph over Michigan in Crisler Arena.
Illinois Fighting Illini shields Ayo Dosunmu (11) and guards Trent Frazier (1) celebrates during the second half from the Michigan Wolverines in Crisler Center. Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports
Dosunmu, who’s said in multiple interviews this season how he studies professional basketball to practice certain moves or skills toward his developing game, said Saturday he models his late-game shooting following Bryant and Michael Jordan because if these two celebrities never wasted time with the dribble.
“There are so many great men to go afterward but I would not say I study one individual but the 1 thing I try to get into is not dancing with the chunk, not trying to get into a house run but trying to get into my spot,” Dosunmu explained.
The statistics say Dosunmu has done nothing but make the right plays late in games that are critical this season for the Illini. During the last five games, all which have been won from the Illini, Dosunmu has averaged 19.2 points and 5.4 assists per game while shooting 53.7% in the field.
“It takes a particular type of man to need the ball in those types of situations and not dread the miss,” Underwood said. “He’s been in those moments so frequently that he knows he is likely to make it more frequently than not and so do we.”
At the 71-70 comeback victory at Wisconsin on Jan. 9, Illinois was 5 from the field in its final six possessions with just one individual continuous. On every trip, the basketball touched. Illinois’ leading offensive threat showcased his leadership skills and basketball intelligence on four minutes at the Kohl Center.
“With that part of being closer or a finisher late in matches, I feel as if it’s not always about scoring,” Dosunmu said after the win over Wisconsin. “I feel there are only times you have to make the right play…I feel like it’s about playing the game the ideal way because ultimately, when it is time to close out a game, you’re going to be prepared to do this and it is your time to shine”