Bulls: 3 Quotes from Ayo Dosunmu show he means business

Ayo Dosunmu (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Ayo Dosunmu (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

By the time the Chicago Bulls had a selection in the 2021 NBA Draft, Ayo Dosunmu had been passed up 37 times. Somehow, the versatile guard had slipped all the way to pick 38, and Bulls executive VP Arturas Karnisovas couldn’t have been more thrilled.

“We didn’t expect him to be available at 38,” he said after the draft. “I’m sure he was expecting to go higher. So he’s going to be motivated to come and work hard here.”

The fit was perfect for Dosunmu, who had become a hometown star for the Illinois Fighting Illini. Now, he plays just three hours away from his college arena for the Bulls at the United Center.

“This was a milestone that I’ve been working on my entire life,” said Ayo after being chosen.

Dosunmu quickly made the most out of living the dream, showing up in 77 games, the most of anyone on the roster. He averaged 8.8 points and 3.3 assists per game while shooting 37.6% from the 3-point range in his debut season. Along the way, he scored 18 or more six separate times and assuredly made several teams regret passing him up.

In his exit interview after the Bulls’ first round loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Ayo had plenty to say about how he’ll be determined to come back even better.

1. “There’s definitely more work to be done, more to accomplish, more room for improvement.”

Looking at the numbers, Dosunmu did well to showcase his all-around talent in his first season. When things picked up in the playoffs, however, he was held scoreless for the first two games on the road against Milwaukee and could barely be seen in the box score.

That’s to be expected given the opponent and injuries plaguing the team, but being able to put his stamp on prime time games can be something he can focus on in his sophomore season. He also struggled a bit shooting from 3-10 feet during the season, making just 37.7% of his shots in that range. More reps finishing from that sometimes awkward area wouldn’t hurt this summer.

2. “Now I have a whole season under my belt. Year two, I can set expectations to get better.”

As he said himself, it’s hard to know what to expect entering the league. The forced jumbling of the lineup due to missing personnel also made him have to adapt on the fly to getting garbage time minutes on some nights and starter minutes on others.

Now that Chicago knows what they have in Ayo, next season should be much smoother for the 22-year-old.

3. “I want to get stronger. The stronger I get, the better I’ll be able to do more moves on the court.”

As a combo guard with a 6-10 wingspan, Dosunmu has all the tools needed to be a talented basketball player on both ends of the court. This summer will be the time to start refining his frame and start aiming toward being in peak shape to really show the world what he’s got.

Fortunately, he appears poised to do just that this offseason as he looks to have an even better 2023.

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The Bulls were thrilled when they were able to snag Ayo last year, and it looks like they have several reasons to be.