Illini basketball fans woke up to some good news Saturday morning. 

Ayo Dosunmu was one of the best players in the country last year. When Morgan Park phenom announced that he would be staying in state and attend the University of Illinois, Illini fans knew that if things went the way they were supposed to for Dosunmu, he would only be staying in Champaign for one, maybe two years tops. NBA scouts have been looking at Dosunmu since he was in grade school.

After seeing that he wasn't a lock for a lottery pick after his freshman season at Illinois, Ayo went back to the gym and was determined to put on a show during his sophomore season. And he did:

The national spotlight had finally fallen on Ayo and he was ready to take the next step.

Then the coronavirus happened.

College basketball was abruptly shut down. Ayo and his Illini teammates were playing some of the best basketball the program had seen in about 15 years and were many expert's dark horse pick to make a deep tournament run in March.

Ayo eventually explored his potential draft stock and it looked like he was a lock to be a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. He never officially hired an agent, which kept the door slightly open for a return to Champaign, but even the most optmistic Illini fan knew it probably wouldn't happen.

Then whispers started to happen a few weeks ago that he was seriously considering a return but it still looked like he was NBA-bound.

Then last night's announcement on Twitter happened and ripples were felt all around the college basketball landscape.

Now Illini fans are waiting on another big announcement from one of their star players. Big man Kofi Cockburn, who grew during his freshman season to become one of the best centers in the country, initially also was going to enter the draft but concerns about the immediate future of the NBA has him considering a return. He will be making his announcement Saturday afternoon.

People are expecting big things if Kofi joins Ayo in returning to Champaign.

Things are getting back to 2005 level of excitement for the Illini and their fans. Now we just need to see if there's actually going to be an NCAA basketball season. Please wear a mask so Illini fans will have something to cheer about next March.


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