Goran Dragic is one of the well-respected players who has spent over 15 years in the NBA. Besides, the now-Bull has played with some of the most renowned names in the league, like Steven Nash, Kyle Lowry, Dwyane Wade, and Kyrie Irving.
Nicknamed “the Dragon,” Dragic has tasted both the sweet and bitter sides of playing basketball. So when he turned out to like Ayo Dosunmu’s performance in training camp, it says a lot.
Who is Ayo Dosunmu?
Ayo Dosunmu is one of the most mentioned names in the NBA at the moment. Ayo, which means joy, was born in Chicago to Nigerian immigrants. He began his high school career at Westinghouse College, leading the Warriors to a conference championship in 2015 against Crane High School.
After a resounding performance at Westinghouse as a freshman, he transferred to Morgan Park. In his junior year with the Mustangs, they won a 3A State Championship even though he suffered an injury in the semi-finals. He then broke an IHSA record in his senior year. He led the Mustangs to yet another state championship, where he scored a record-breaking 28 points.
In 2018, alongside 26 other high school seniors, Dosunmu participated in the historic Jordan Brand Classic. He became the third Illini to play in the Jordan Classic, joining Dee Brown, who played for the Red team in 2002, and Jalen Coleman-Lands, who played in 2015
In his senior year at Morgan Park, he averaged 25.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 7.3 assists, and 2.7 steals. He helped the team clinch a second-straight IHSA Class 3A championship. Dosunmu was then named a Consensus first-team All-State selection.
Ayo Dosunmu with a new career-high 21 points on 9-10 shooting! pic.twitter.com/N67ZLY0TNq
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 16, 2022
2021-2022 Season With The Chicago Bulls
Now, of all the surprises the 2021-2022 season had for the NBA world, the emergence of Bull’s Ayo Dosunmu had to be one of the biggest. Ayo was a second-round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and was selected number 38 overall by his home team, the Chicago Bulls.
It has been a norm that most second-round picks are either not just productive or do not stay long in the league. Well, Ayo Dosunmu seems to be different. Being born of foreign immigrants and now an opportunity with one of the biggest teams in the NBA, Ayo set out on a personal mission to embarrass naysayers.
After the Chicago Bulls lost both Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball to injuries, Dosunmu got a perfect opportunity to be a starter. He was, therefore, permanently named to the Bull’s starting lineup on January 15. On an impressive true shooting percentage of 59.7%, Dosunmu posted 3.4 rebounds per game, 5.2 assists, and 11 points. After starting 40 games, he led the Bulls in games played and ranked fourth in total minutes. And his splendid performance earned him a spot on the NBA’s All-Rookie second team for 2021-22.
He only has one year in the league, but it’s pretty clear he’s here to stay. And unlike most members of his draft class, Dosunmu has posted quite impressive performances. We know there are a few benchmarks remaining for him to clear yet, but he is already a big thing in the NBA.
AYO DOSUNMU JUST CLOSED THE GAME LIKE THIS pic.twitter.com/88nCauFSoR
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) February 5, 2022
Goran Dragic Impressed by Dosunmu’s Performance
Dragic has only been around the Chicago Bulls for a short time, and this week marks his second week in training with them. With over 15 years as a guard and having reached All-Star status, there’s no doubt Dragic knows a talented guard when he sees one. So when he was asked about which players had stood out to him in the Bulls training camp, he didn’t hesitate to talk about Ayo Dosunmu.
In his first post-practice media availability of the season, the Slovenian guard showered some praises on Dosunmu. From Dosunmu’s curious mind to impressive instincts, Dragic had more than enough he could talk about the Morgan Park High School alumni.
“I really like Ayo. He’s a great kid,” Dragic told the media on Monday. “He really listens, and he really asked me a lot of questions. For me, it’s just to guide him to the right path. He has such a great talent, and he’s a positive kid. He really surprised me … Defensively, I know how tough he is.”
Anyone who has been following Dosunmu closely since the start of his rookie season will confirm that just as Dragic put it, Dosunmu has a great talent. He attracted rave reviews last training camp for his wise and curious nature, earning himself a starting role when the opportunity opened up early this year.
The Bulls brought in 36-year-old Dragic to seal loopholes left by Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso and also to serve as a point of reference to a group that boasts several key players but with limited NBA playoff experience. We’re yet to see what he has to offer to the team this season.
Ayo Dosunmu averaged around 9 ppg last year, but it seems like he’s going to do much more than that this year 🔥 pic.twitter.com/BFEgZ60hvi
— Bulls Nation (@BullsNationCP) September 29, 2022
Credits on Featured Image: All-Pro Reels, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons