Preps Talk

How two-a-days and a refined jumper helped Ayo Dosunmu make the USA Basketball U18 team

How two-a-days and a refined jumper helped Ayo Dosunmu make the USA Basketball U18 team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo -- Ayo Dosunmu wasn't satisfied after his senior season ended at Morgan Park.

Although the 6-foot-4 guard won another Class 3A state championship to close out a storied IHSA career, the work before heading to play college basketball at Illinois was just getting started.

With invitations to prestigious April all-star events like the Jordan Brand Classic and the Allen Iverson Roundball Classic, Dosunmu wanted to be ready to face the best players in his class in front of national scouts and NBA personnel. 

Waking up at 5:30 a.m. every morning and working out at the Kroc Center on the South Side, Dosunmu and his father, Quam, would focus on his body prior to attempting around 300 jumpers all before school started at Morgan Park at 7:30 a.m. every morning.

Then the phone call came.

USA Basketball invited Dosunmu to tryout for the U18 national team that would play for a gold medal in FIBA Americas held in Canada this June. 

That's when the two-a-days started. 

With the morning plan staying the same, Dosunmu and his father added the afternoon workouts into the equation. When school let out each afternoon, Dosunmu would finish his homework and get in a nap before heading back to the Kroc Center for more lifting and jumpers around 6 p.m. 

Dosunmu made it a point to fix the inconsistent perimeter jumper that always seemed to pop up on his scouting report. After hearing from NBA scouts that he had a low release point on his jumper after the Jordan Brand Classic, the motivation to fix the jumper really kicked in.

The final part of the training was a 4.5 mile run every night. Quam would drop off his sons, Ayo and Kube, along with Ayo's best friend, Dre, at 55th Street right along the lake. From there, Quam drove north to the 31st Street beach and waited for the group to finish the run. Sometimes, Quam would park in different spots to add more distance.

The hard work, the two-a-days, and the refined jumper clearly paid off for Dosunmu. The former Morgan Park star was one of 12 players selected for the USA U18 team which will play in the FIBA Americas tournament that begins on Sunday.

Armed with the new-and-improved jumper and an added sense of confidence, Dosunmu was one of the breakout players during USA Basketball's training camp in Colorado Springs last week. One of the things scouts really noticed was the overhauled perimeter jumper.

"You don't often see an overhaul like that going into a freshman year," Mike Schmitz of ESPN's Draft Express said of Dosunmu. 

"It seems he's really changed his shot, that's really the biggest thing with him. He used to have such a low release. I think he's still working through that, in-game, from a release standpoint. But from an NBA perspective, he has the tools. I think it's just continuing to slow down and being a point guard."

Dosunmu's jumper used to have the low release and often didn't feature a refined follow through. While he could get by at the high school level because of his natural scoring acumen, high skill level and athleticism, Dosunmu's jumper was streaky.

Quam noticed a breakthrough right before Ayo left for Philadelphia and the Iverson Roundball Classic in late April. While father and son had worked hard on the perimeter jumper since sophomore year, Ayo took things very seriously upon receiving the NBA's feedback after early April in the Jordan Brand Classic.

Filming every shooting workout and watching over the film, Ayo started to see the differences in his jumper as it gradually got better.

"I didn't want to have defenders going under on screens and I'm missing. So I just went to the gym. And me and my dad, nobody there, and we just put up shots. He told me, 'don't worry about the misses, worry about the release point. Try to get it up and out,'" Ayo said. "So that's what I've been doing. Staying in the gym: shooting, shooting, shooting. After about a week and a half, I got more consistency with it. After two months, I started to get used to it. Now I can do moves and step backs and things like that."

With the improved jumper on display, Dosunmu let the rest of his all-around game speak for itself at the USA tryouts. Playing on and off the ball during tryouts, Dosunmu was able to facilitate out of high ball screens while also knocking down catch-and-shoot jumpers if he played off the ball.

Defensively, Dosunmu was a menace, often picking up opponents nearly the length of the floor and showing an intensity that many others in camp didn't have. While the thin air in Colorado Springs often does damage to first-timers like Dosunmu, the two-a-days and lakefront runs back in Chicago had him prepared to go all-out during the tryout.

"It's easy for me because the way I was raised -- to play the game the right way. So when I come to camps, I can play on the ball or off the ball. Bring my versatility. So that's what I'm trying to show," Dosunmu said.

"That's how I got used to this atmosphere, by doing two-a-days. I just want to keep getting more consistency on my jump shot, keep working on it. Because I know my quickness, speed and length -- and my jump shot coming along -- that's going to make it tough on the defense."

Competing for a gold medal is a huge moment for Dosunmu as he'll be playing for Kansas head coach Bill Self and a staff that includes Wake Forest coach Danny Manning and Dayton coach Anthony Grant. Recruited heavily by Self and Manning before eventually deciding on Illinois for college, Dosunmu is pleased to be able to work with veteran head coaches who are already familiar with his game.

While his freshman season at Illinois will be under an intense spotlight as one of the program's highest-rated recruits in years, Dosunmu is hoping to earn one more title before heading down to Champaign later this summer. 

"I'm excited for college, but I'm really not thinking about that. I'm just trying to focus on locking in for these days and focus on competing for a gold medal because that's been my dream," Dosunmu said.

"It's just great being able to be coached by legendary coaches and to be in this environment. To make the team, the time here, it gets you better. I can take stuff I'm learning here, take it to Illinois, and make me a better player."

Edgy Tim's Preps Power Rankings: Week 6

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NBC Sports Chicago

Edgy Tim's Preps Power Rankings: Week 6

Here are the latest @NBCSPreps Top 25 Power Rankings. 

1. Lincoln-Way East 5-0 (1)
Last Week: Beat Lincoln-Way Central, 38-0
This Week: vs H-F
EDGY's Take: The Griffins get quarterback A.J. Henning back in the lineup. The rich get richer. 

2. Nazareth Academy 5-0 (2)
Last Week: Beat Benet Academy, 45-7
This Week: @ Carmel
EDGY's Take: The Roadrunners dismantled a pretty decent Benet Academy defense last Friday. 

3. Batavia 5-0 (3)
Last Week: Beat Wheaton South, 41-20
This Week: vs Geneva
EDGY's Take: The Bulldogs are a big, strong and very physical team with multiple ball carriers. 

4. Homewood-Flossmoor 5-0 (4)
Last Week: Beat Lincoln-Way West, 28-14
This Week: @ Lincoln-Way East
EDGY's Take: The Vikings get their much anticipated showdown with Lincoln-Way (B)East this week in Frankfort. Be there. 

5. Brother Rice 5-0 (5)
Last Week: Beat Providence Catholic, 20-0
This Week: vs St. Rita
EDGY's Take: The Crusaders defense locked down a potent Providence running game last Friday.

6. Mount Carmel 4-1 (7)
Last Week: Beat Marmion Academy, 28-7
This Week: vs St. Ignatius
EDGY's Take: The Caravan keep rolling and can St. Ignatius become a thorn in Mount Carmel's side this week?

7. Cary-Grove 5-0 (8)
Last Week: Beat Dundee-Crown, 55-15
This Week: @ McHenry
EDGY's Take: As always, the Trojans pound the running game right at you; that said, they've discovered the forward pass this season. QB Ben McDonald has been a difference maker.

8. Simeon 5-0 (9)
Last Week: Beat Perspectives, 48-13
This Week: vs Raby
EDGY's Take: The Wolverines get a nice win over Perspectives. Simeon has a real shot at a deep playoff run if they can stay healthy. 

9. Marist 4-1 (10)
Last Week: Beat Joliet Catholic, 42-6
This Week: @ Marian Catholic
EDGY's Take: The Redhawks defense made a big statement in slowing down the JCA power run game last Friday.

10. Maine South 4-1 (12)
Last Week: Beat Evanston, 21-13
This Week: vs Niles North
EDGY's Take: The Hawks are still the "Kings of the CSL South" until someone can take the crown away. 

11. Oswego 5-0 (13)
Last Week: Beat Plainfield East, 49-0
This Week: @ Romeoville
EDGY's Take: On Friday, the Panthers rolled over Plainfield East. Oswego is in need of a bigger test sooner rather than later. 

12. Glenbard West 4-1 (14)
Last Week: Beat Downers Grove North, 35-14
This Week: vs Lyons
EDGY's Take: The Hilltoppers had a big second quarter and rolled over the Trojans on Saturday. 

13. Richards 5-0 (15)
Last Week: Beat Shepard, 50-14
This Week: vs Argo
EDGY's Take: The Bulldogs also are making things look really easy. 

14. Phillips 3-2 (17)
Last Week: Beat Morgan Park, 49-0
This Week: @ Curie
EDGY's Take: The Wildcats are looking to finish strong the remainder of the regular season.

15. Willowbrook 5-0 (19)
Last Week: Beat Hinsdale South, 20-10
This Week: @ York
EDGY's Take: The Warriors get a nice win on Friday over Hinsdale South. Is quarterback Sam Tumilty a Chicagoland Player of the Year candidate?

16. Naperville Central 3-2 (20)
Last Week: Beat Metea Valley, 56-13
This Week: vs Naperville North
EDGY's Take: The Redhawks staff gets to game plan to face rival Naperville North for the second time in three weeks. 

17. Bolingbrook 4-1 (21)
Last Week: Beat Bradley, 35-13
This Week: @ Lockport
EDGY's Take: The Raiders get a nice bounce-back win on the road Friday against Bradley. 

18. Montini 5-0 (22)
Last Week: Beat St. Rita, 29-13
This Week: @ Loyola 
EDGY's Take: The Broncos got a nice win last Friday over St. Rita. Is the timing right for the Broncos to take on the reeling Ramblers this Saturday?

19. Hinsdale Central 4-1 (23)
Last Week: Beat York, 35-13
This Week: @ Proviso West
EDGY's Take: The Red Devils get another big day from QB Matt Rush on Saturday, but they announced that RB Luke Skokna is lost for the season because of an injury. 

20. Stevenson 4-1 (6)
Last Week: Lost to Lake Zurich, 23-20 OT
This Week: @ Mundelein
EDGY's Take: The Patriots will need to bounce back after an OT loss to Lake Zurich. The North Suburban conference is wide open, kids.

21. Loyola Academy 3-2 (11)
Last Week: Beat St. Ignatius, 21-14 OT
This Week: vs Montini 
EDGY's Take: The Ramblers hang on for dear life and beat St. Ignatius in OT. Will Loyola right the ship?

22. Evanston 4-1 (16)
Last Week: Lost to Maine South, 21-13
This Week: @ New Trier
EDGY's Take: The Wildkits get another big test this week as they take on their bitter rivals in the Trevians. 

23. New Trier 4-1 (24)
Last Week: Beat Niles West, 57-0
This Week: vs Evanston
EDGY's Take: The Trevians have been rolling since a Week Two loss to Loyola, but this week will also be another big step up against the Wildkits.

24. Hillcrest 5-0 (25)
Last Week: Beat Lemont, 27-7
This Week: @ Tinley Park
EDGY's Take: The Hawks win over Lemont is a big deal...trust me on that one. 

25. Waubonsie Valley 5-0 (NR)
Last Week: Beat Naperville North, 31-24
This Week: @ Neuqua Valley
EDGY's Take: The Warriors get to take on rival Neuqua Valley for the second time this season. They're looking for a sweep after beating the Wildcats 17-10 in Week 3.

High School Lites Football Roundup Week 5

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

High School Lites Football Roundup Week 5

High School Lites is back with an action-packed Week 5 full of thrilling matchups. NBC Sports Chicago has the highlights of some of the top matchups from Friday's games.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NBCSPREPS for all of the latest IHSA football scores and highlights. 

DRIVE: Batavia (episode 5)

TEAM OF THE WEEK: South Elgin football

VIEWER'S CHOICE GAMES OF THE WEEK: Oswego East beats Plainfield South 29-0

WINTRUST ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Vinnie Panico

FRIDAY'S TOP 25 SCORES:

(1) Lincoln-Way East 38, Lincoln-Way Central 0

(2) Nazareth Academy 45, Benet Academy 7

(3) Batavia 41, Wheaton South 20

(4) Homewood-Flossmoor 28 Lincoln-Way West, 14

(5) Brother Rice 20 Providence Catholic, 0

Lake Zurich 23, (6) Stevenson 20

(7) Mount Carmel 28, Marmion Academy 7

(9) Simeon 48, Perspectives 13

(10) Marist 42, Joliet Catholic 6

(11) Loyola-Academy 21, St. Ignatius 14 (OT)

(12) Maine South 21, (16) Evanston 13

(13) Oswego 49. Plainfield East 0

(15) Richards 50, Shepard 14

(17) Phillips 49, Morgan Park 0

Conant 21, (18) Barrington 12

(19) Willowbrook 20, Hinsdale South 10

(20) Naperville Central 56, Metea Valley 13

(21) Bolingbrook 35, Bradley-Bourbonnais 13

(22) Montini 29, St. Rita 13

(24) New Trier 59, Niles West 0

(25) Hillcrest 27, Lemont 7

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

Kenwood 46, Back of the Yards 6

Notre Dame 45, Marian Central Catholic 6

Warren 24, Lake Forest 10

Curie 13, Hubbard 6

SATURDAY'S TOP 25 GAMES

Dundee-Crown at (8) Cary-Grove

Downers Grove North at (14) Glenbard West 

York at (23) Hinsdale Central