Gill: Bulls got lottery talent in 2nd round with Dosunmu


Kendall Gill has lived next door to Ayo Dosunmu’s aunt for years.

But Gill was unaware of that fact until one fateful morning, when, while mowing his lawn, he spotted a 6-foot-11 man amble out of a car parked directly in front of his house.

“I bend my glasses, and I was like, ‘Danny? What’re you doing here?’” Gill said on the latest episode of the Bulls Talk Podcast. “It was Danny Manning.”

Manning, then the head coach at Wake Forest University, was recruiting Dosunmu, then a star point guard at Morgan Park High School.

But Dosunmu, with some help from Gill, eventually chose Illinois, and spearheaded a culture shift during his three seasons in Champaign. Dosunmu’s No. 11 jersey, in fact, joined Gill’s in the State Farm Arena rafters at a special ceremony in early January.

After surprisingly falling to 38th in the 2021 draft, he’s now taking part in another transformation with the Chicago Bulls. As the team has surged to an Eastern-Conference-leading 28-15 record, Dosunmu has markedly improved as a finisher, jump-shooter and defender – and seen his role steadily increase in a crowded backcourt rotation.

“His big thing, when he was at Morgan Park, and also his first couple years at Illinois, he was one of the best finishers at the rim – one, in college basketball and definitely here in high school basketball. His whole game is predicated off of getting to the rim,” Gill said. “That’s second nature to him, but now you’re starting to see him knock down 3s with consistency and knock down big shots. A couple times this year he’s even taken it off of the dribble.

“What a luxury to have. A guy who I believe should’ve been a lottery pick, to get him in the second round, and now he’s starting to pay dividends already. That was a big win for the Bulls.”

With Lonzo Ball sidelined for the next six to eight weeks, the rookie will be leaned on even more moving forward. Dosunmu is averaging 18 points, eight assists and shooting 76.7 percent – in a whopping 39 minutes per contest – since entering the starting lineup three games ago, taking on enhanced playmaking responsibilities on offense and star-studded assignments on defense.

“He’s been able to get back to the player at Illinois,” Gill said of Dosunmu. “They (the Bulls) had him playing off of the ball a lot, specifically in Summer League when he first started off – and let’s not forget, he didn’t look too impressive in Summer League. And then he comes here, to training camp, Lonzo is the point guard, he (Dosunmu) has to play off the basketball. It’s not his natural position.

“Now that he’s, over this past four or five games that he’s exploded, he’s just, to me, he’s just the same guy he was at Illinois, he’s just doing it at the pro level. And he has the basketball in his hands.”

For more of Gill’s thoughts on Dosunmu and the Bulls, check out the full podcast.

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