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."

68 Days to Kickoff: Oswego East

68 Days to Kickoff: Oswego East

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Oswego East

Head coach: Tyson LeBlanc

Assistant coaches: Dan Dunbar, Andy Brogan, Jeremy Main, Erik Aister, Dru Filkins, Connor Downs, Zac Sadek, Reggie Cribbs and Mike Harden

How they fared in 2017: 7-3 (7-2 Southwest Prairie Conference). Oswego East made the Class 8A state football playoff field. The Wolves lost to St. Charles East in opening round action.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs Plainfield East

Aug. 31 @ Joliet West

Sept. 7 vs Romeoville

Sept. 14 vs Joliet Central

Sept. 21 @ Plainfield South

Sept. 28 @ Plainfield North

Oct. 5 vs Oswego

Oct. 12 vs Plainfield Central

Oct. 19 vs Minooka

[MORE: 73 Days to Kickoff - Joliet Central]

Biggest storyline: Can the Wolves get out of the rugged Southwest Prairie conference and make a run in the IHSA state playoffs?

Names to watch this season: ATH Justin Clark and WR Kieon Battle

Biggest holes to fill: The Wolves will need to replace their entire starting defensive line from a season ago.

EDGY's Early Take: Oswego East head coach Tyson LeBlanc is shooting to make the IHSA playoff field and the fourth straight year in 2018. He has a 36-24 record since coming over from Curie High School back in 2012. Oswego East will rely on a strong group of returning offensive skills led by D-1 recruit Justin Clark, who can --and will-- play multiple positions this season for the Wolves. 

69 Days to Kickoff: Lincoln-Way West

69 Days to Kickoff: Lincoln-Way West

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Lincoln-Way West

Head coach: Dave Ernst

Assistant Coaches: Luke Lokanc, Larry Lokanc, Mike Villa, Eric DoornKaat, George Czart, Bob Lombardi, Sean Lucas, Rob Glielmi, Steve Bauer and Al McKellar

How they fared in 2017: 9-3 (6-1 Southwest Suburban Conference), Lincoln-Way West made the Class 7A state football playoff field. The Knights defeated Jacobs and Alton and then lost to Batavia in the quarterfinal round.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs. Racine Case (Wisc.)

Aug. 31 @ Lincoln-Way Central

Sept. 7 vs. Bradley-Bourbonnais

Sept. 14 vs. Thornridge

Sept. 21 @ Homewood-Flossmoor

Sept. 28 @ Sandburg

Oct. 5 vs. Thornton Township

Oct. 12 @ Stagg

Oct. 19 @ Andrew

Biggest storyline: Can the Warriors get back to the 7A playoffs and make a deeper run this season?

Names to watch this season: OL Martin Bender and RB Caleb Marconi

Biggest holes to fill: The Warriors welcome back 10 returning starters but just three are back on the defensive side of the football. In particular, they will need to replace their entire starting secondary from a season ago.

EDGY's Early Take: Ernst has guided the Warriors to the IHSA playoffs in each the past six seasons. If West can reload a bit on the defensive side of the football they have a good chance of getting to the postseason again this fall. The good news is that the offense brings back four starting offensive linemen along with bruising RB Marconi. Look for the running game to pace the offense. It should be a big strength this fall.