The best current NBA player from every Sweet 16 team left in the NCAA Tournament

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3. Illinois Fighting Illini: Ayo Dosunmu

The 6’5” combo guard, Dosunmu stayed local after a great college career, being drafted by the Bulls. He’s greatly improved his game, and become a rock-solid two-way player for a team chasing a playoff spot.

While I’m pretty high on Ayo, he admittedly didn’t have any real competition. The only other player from Illinois who could be considered in the league today is Malcolm Hill, a career G-Leaguer who went undrafted in 2017 and has played in multiple professional basketball leagues, appearing only a handful of times in actual NBA action.

The only other player with Illini ties is promising Warriors rookie Brandin Podziemski, but he transferred from Illinois after his freshman season and blossomed into a star and an NBA prospect while playing for Santa Clara.

Dosunmu’s stats don’t jump off the page, but he’s taken a big all-around leap in his third year, averaging 11.8, points, 2.8 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game on 40% shooting from three-point land while playing stout defense. So while this (fake) accolade is somewhat by default, it is still well-deserved compared to a few other players on this list.

Illini greats of the past include Deron Williams, Jerry Sloan, Don Ohi, Eddie Johnson, Nick Anderson, and Kendall Gill. They’ll have another potential lottery pick in the 2024 draft entering the league in Terrence Shannon Jr.