Lakers News: Ayo Dosunmu Opens Up About Admiration Of Kobe Bryant
(Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers held another pre-draft workout at their practice facility on Saturday afternoon and perhaps the headliner of the six prospects they worked out was Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu.

Dosunmu had a very decorated three-year career with the Fighting Illini, most recently leading them to a Big Ten Tournament Championship in 2021.

After winning the tournament, Dosunmu reenacted the famous Kobe Bryant picture hugging the trophy. After completing his workout with the Lakers, who Bryant spent his entire 20-year career with, Dosunmu opened up about what Kobe has meant to him growing up.

“Mamba is someone I always looked up to since I was younger,” Dosunmu told Lakers Nation. “He’s my favorite basketball player growing up, not only on the basketball court but I just loved his mentality. It’s just really unreal just being on the court in L.A. and just competing but I try to just do it for him, really, that’s one of my motivations. He means a lot to me and to my basketball growth and my basketball mentality.

In his final season at Illinois, Dosunmu averaged 20.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists. He was named a Consensus All-American as well as First-Team All-Big Ten and Big Ten Tournament MVP.

The 21-year-old could receive some serious consideration from the Lakers when they go to make their 22nd overall pick in the first round, and he feels his workout went well on Saturday.

“Today was great. Anytime you have other draft prospects in a room, it’s always competitive because everyone’s trying to prove why they, everyone’s trying to get a job. Today we had a pretty good group and I just went out there and competed, that’s all I know how to do is compete. I know how to play as hard as I can, I try to dominate each drill and just play on both ends, try to be a complete player. That’s what I tried to show.”

Dosunmu added that college has prepared him for the NBA and he believes he can come in and contribute right away for a Lakers team that should be in the championship mix in 2021-22.

“I pay my agent a good amount of money to put me in position to go out there and show my talents and to a team that I can go in and perform well on.

“So definitely, the Lakers are one of those teams. Like you said, they’re in win-now mode and me doing three years at Illinois and playing at the highest level at Illinois, being one of the first guard to average 20-6-5 in the Big 10, just being an overall complete player, I think definitely that will translate to a contending team.”

Dosunmu feels he’s perfect fit with James and Davis

If the Lakers do end up drafting Dosunmu, he shouldn’t feel pressure to come in and be a star right away considering the team already has two in LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

The guard feels that he would fit well alongside them though. “I’m a playmaker, so they have tremendous basketball IQ and I can make plays, I can take a load off of them at times when I get in,” Dosunmu said.

“I can score when needed, I can get in the lane and make passes, I can defend multiple positions so I can just come in and play as hard as I can and try to do that, try to just bring a spark, bring my talents, my versatility to help them.”

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