NBA Draft Combine: Illinois' Ayo Dosunmu set to meet with Bulls

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Ayo Dosunmu set to meet with Bulls at draft combine originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

On the heels of a stellar junior season at the University of Illinois, Ayo Dosunmu is drawing plenty of interest at this year's NBA Draft Combine.

Dosunmu said during a media session Thursday that he'd already met with 13 different teams. On the docket for Friday: A meeting with the Chicago Bulls.

"Most of the teams I talked to, they really love me," Dosunmu told reporters. "They want to keep me to work out, see how I can fit their style of play and their organization."

That dynamic could keep Dosunmu out of the Bulls' draft range who, without a first-round selection, currently hold just the eighth pick in the second round (No. 38 overall). Most mock drafts peg Dosunmu as a mid-to-late first-round prospect.

But in the event of a slip into their range, or a trade-up, Dosunmu donning Bulls red would make for quite the story. Not only did he lead the Illini to a No. 1 seed in this year's NCAA Tournament, he's also a Chicago native and split time between Westinghouse and Morgan Park in high school.

"It's good, it's interesting," Dosunmu said of the combine being held in Chicago. "It's like I'm a host for the city of Chicago, so that's fun."

Dosunmu participated in last year's combine before returning to Illinois, but said more in-person interaction this year has made for a better experience.

His performance during that extra college season will surely help his stock as well. Dosunmu averaged 20.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists with 48.8/39/78.3 percent shooting splits from the floor, 3-point range and free-throw line in 2020-21 — all bests for his collegiate career — and cemented himself as a complete player on both ends of the floor.

Add in great positional size for a lead guard (he measured 6-foot-5 in sneakers with a 6-10.25 wingspan at the combine), plus proven track records as a leader, defender and clutch-time performer, and it's easy to see the intrigue. Especially when viewed through the lens of a Bulls team in need of all of the above traits in their back court.

"I don't think people really understand the season I had and the growth that I can continue to display," Dosunmu said. "Me being 21 years old, people still ask questions like: 'Can I come out and produce right away?' And I think that's a misconception because I proved it last year. My 3-point percentage going from [29.6] percent to 39 percent. My assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6) being better than last year. My rebounding increasing. Every category increasing, but then I still hear certain questions. It's all about just working hard and staying true to myself."

Now, the question is where he'll go on July 29. Whichever team nabs Dosunmu, the city of Chicago will surely be behind him.

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