Adios, Ayo + more ballpark thoughts

The Illini basketball program took an expected hit on Wednesday when Ayo Dosunmu declared for the NBA draft ... but is he definitely gone?

Good morning, frents

Well, that was a fun day for the newsletter. The ballpark draft was the most trafficked and forwarded newsletter in the Minute’s short two-month history. It caused a lot of good natured debate and I weighed in with some more thoughts on Twitter last night. You can read those here.

Thanks again to everyone who participated! And thank you to everyone who signed up as a result of that increased traffic. While this lockdown has been awful for sports, I’ve been surprised at how many people continue to sign up for and open a sports newsletter in a time of no sports. Along those lines, I know that each of you know one person who likes Chicago sports as much as you do. If each of you reach out to that person today and get them to sign up, you’ll help me double my audience in one day.

OK, enough with me shilling and shooting my shot. Onto sports!

Ayo Dosunmu posts his NBA notice

It didn’t come as much of a surprise, but Illini star sophomore Ayo Dosunmu declared for the NBA draft on Wednesday afternoon.

The way the Morgan Park product did it was cool, too. If you have two minutes, watch the embedded video above. The social media creativity of people 20 years younger than me never ceases to amaze and, yes, make me feel like a fossil banging away on this “laptop.”

"This was a tough decision,” Dosunmu wrote.  “I'm not sure what the date (for the NBA Draft is). But I'm 100 percent locked in. Whenever they announce a date, I'm prepared. Thirty GMs are going to see what I'm made of. Straight ice in my veins."

To answer your question: No, Dosunmu has not hired an agent. That’d be a foolish decision for him considering the uncertainty of everything surrounding the sports schedule right now. The draft doesn’t even have a date right now.

Also, no one is quite sure where Dosunmu will get drafted or if he’ll even get drafted at all. The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie is on the high end, tabbing Dosunmu to go to Sacramento with the 35th overall pick in his latest mock draft.

But Vecenie also acknowledges that Dosunmu is a divisive player among talent evaluators and that shows in other mocks. ESPN has Dosunmu listed as 88th overall and the 28th best point guard while lists him at 82.

None of those three projections come with any guaranteed money so Dosunmu will not only need to focus on his shooting in the months ahead, but he’ll also have to consider how much risk he’s willing to shoulder in his pursuit of the pro game.

It’s obvious that Dosunmu really needed a good run in March Madness to improve his draft stock and he could have put it together. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be and he’ll have a lot more work to do in whatever workouts are able to be held.

Still, there’s no cost for Dosunmu or Illini teammate Kofi Cockburn to put their names out there and gather as much information as they can from the pro ranks as the rest of the sports world figures out what it will look like in the fall.

Plus, it looks like he’ll be creative enough to come up with a good “I’m back” announcement for Illini Nation if it comes to that.

Lithuania mania!

Midway Minute partner BreakingT just came out with a new shirt in honor of the new leader inspiring hope on the West Side. Not going to lie: I need one.

Buy shirt

My brother feels this way about the McRib, too

Wednesday was the 20th anniversary of the Bears drafting Brian Urlacher. No. 54 had a few good national ad campaigns before his hair started dominating I-294, but this is by far my favorite Urlacher commercial.

Have a link for Midway Minute? Email me!

• Tonight is the big semifinal H-O-R-S-E matchup between the Sky’s Allie Quigley and the Bulls’ Zach LaVine. Jon Greenberg’s great piece on Quigley revealed the contest has already been filmed, but we still don’t know the winner. It’s probably easier to contain links when only your neighbors are watching from the other side of the fence. Tonight’s show starts at 8 pm on ESPN. Winner faces the winner of the Chauncey Billups-Mike Conley matchup. (The Athletic)

Mark Carman with an entertaining story on how MJ owned him as a young reporter. It involves Red Mottlow. (Fansided)

From bars to memorabilia shops, Patrick Mooney on the long rebuild that awaits Wrigleyville businesses (The Athletic)

KC Johnson on the late, great Bulls beat writer Terry Armour. (NBC Sports Chicago)

The Hawks canceled their annual fan convention, which had been scheduled for late July. (Blackhawks)

Roy Robertson-Harris will be back on the Bears’ DL next fall. (Windy City Gridiron)

I need to get me some of that Bill Simmons money. (Variety)

The video of the massive pileup on the Kennedy is terrifying. (Twitter)

• Finally, here’s your smile for the day. Better yet, this little girl’s dad is an early #frentofthenewsletter (hi Greg!) and her mom is from Naperville!

As a parent, I know the stress that comes with making sure this entire lockdown doesn’t weigh on our kids too heavily. So props to anyone who goes the extra mile to putting together a special day for their child.

That’s it for today. Hope everyone has a great Thursday and, as always, thank you for being a #frentofthenewsletter. Hang in there.