12/7/21: Ayo Dosunmu stands tall in first career start

The Bulls rookie stepped up with DeMar DeRozan in COVID protocols and Alex Caruso on the mend.

Ayo Dosunmu Chicago Bulls
(USA Today Sports)

Welcome to Midway Minute, the daily Chicago sports newsletter. Did someone forward you this? Join our list for free to get this email in your inbox.

Good morning, frents!

Arturas Karnisovas for Bears GM.  Pass it on.


Monday's results
Bulls 109, Nuggets 97
Illinois 87, Iowa 83

Today's schedule
Roosevelt at Loyola (7, ESPN+)
Duquesne at DePaul (7:30, FS1)
Rangers at Hawks (7:30, NBCSCH)


What, the Bulls worry?

(USA Today Sports)

Billy Donovan delivered bad news to the media on Monday.

DeMar DeRozan was placed in COVID protocols with Coby White and Javonte Green while Alex Caruso would rest his strained hamstring for at least one week.  

But he also issued good news to Ayo Dosunmu before the game. The rookie would be getting the first start of his pro career in his home city.

Next Bull up.

Dosunmu was hit with a big responsibility in replicating what each of the unavailable Bulls guards provides. But he responded in a big way, playing a game-high 42 minutes in the 109-97 win over Denver and posting a line of 11 points, six rebounds and eight assists.

His alley-oop to Lonzo Ball (above) punctuated a night when the Bulls outscored Denver 15-0 on fast-break points.

That the Bulls were able to keep up that style with a depleted bunch is something else, but Dosumnu hasn't shrunk from any challenge since making the Bulls roster.

“He got that swag to him," Ball said of Dosunmu to reporters. "He’s very confident when he’s out there. We put 100 percent trust into him.”

Watching Dosunmu now, it's unbelievable that he lasted until the 38th pick in this year's draft. There are moments when you can tell he's still adjusting to the league, but he never shows any hesitation or lack of confidence when asked to make a play.

Even cooler: Dosunmu was introduced in the starting lineups as being "from Chicago" instead of his school, just like Derrick Rose back in the day.

As for the rest of the squad: Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 32 points while Nikola Vucevic and Lonzo Ball both scored 20 points with 10 rebounds. The team is 17-8 and tied with the Nets for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Next: The Bulls are in Cleveland on Wednesday night and Miami on Saturday. Donovan said he wasn't sure about DeRozan's status going forward.

🏀 Recommend Midway Minute to a friend and earn some newsletter swag. Grab your personal referral code here.


What were Chicago teams doing on Dec. 7, 1941?

Today marks the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, an event that pushed America into World War II and set the course for the second half of the 20th century.

Japan's surprise attack took place on a Sunday and many Chicagoans were well into their usual activities as the news started coming back to the mainland.

Here's what the sports page looked like the morning after:

  • The Bears beat the Cardinals 34-24 at Comiskey Park, setting up a playoff game with the Packers the following Sunday at Wrigley Field. They'd win that game as well as the NFL championship against the Giants the following week — with only 13K fans in the stands — to repeat as champs.
  • The Black Hawks beat the Brooklyn Americans 5-4 at Chicago Stadium. World War II and financial difficulties combined to kill the Americans' franchise the following spring.
  • Baseball's winter meetings opened at the Palmer House with the Cubs being said to be looking for "a hitter." Some things apparently never change.
  • An All-Star bowling tournament at the Coliseum dominated the sports pages for several days. A ticket for the event cost $1.65, as much as a standing-room only ticket to the Bears-Packers playoff game.

Interestingly, the Pearl Harbor attack wasn't mentioned in any sports stories in the next day's paper. The only mention was baseball commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis saying he'd need more information before commenting about the 1942 season.


Illini hoops: Big road win in Iowa

Nice night for Illini fans everywhere as Kofi Cockburn scored 17 points and collected 18 rebounds to take an 87-83 win in one of the toughest arenas in the Big Ten. Getting sent to the line 28 times on the road (and making 24 of them) was an unexpected plus for the Illini. Big test on Saturday with No. 11 Arizona coming to Champaign.  


1. Pat Forde on the excitement that Marcus Freeman is creating in South Bend. The new Notre Dame coach had his first press conference on Monday. SI.com

2. An interesting thread on whether or not "Minnie" Minoso liked the nickname American newspapermen gave him. Twitter

3. The city is planning a 2 percent tax on sports betting revenues. That would be in addition to the 15 percent state tax and 2 percent Cook County tax. Sun-Times

4. Charlie Roumeliotis on Marc Andre-Fleury's role in the Hawks' recent turnaround. NBC Sports Chicago

5. The story of the Chicago man who put a 20-foot spinning Christmas tree through his roof. Block Club Chicago


You've reached the end of Midway Minute!

If you enjoy this newsletter, you can ...
✍️ Become a supporting member and get extra perks
🍺 Buy us a coffee or beer
👍 Refer some friends and earn some cool Midway Minute swag
🔗 Recommend a link or story