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CHAMPAIGN – For Illinois players and fans, Saturday was probably a bit of a difficult evening.

A few weeks ago, it looked as if Illinois would be in prime position to make their first Final Four in 16 years as they grabbed a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament thanks to a strong finish to the season.

Loyola’s suffocating defense had something to say about that as they put a stop to those hopes in the second round, as the Illini uncharacteristically could get nothing going in a 71-58 defeat.

Yet the accomplishments of the great season haven’t been forgotten around college basketball, especially when it comes to a former Morgan Park High School star who had one of the great individual seasons in Illinois history.

Ayo Dosunmu was named the recipient of the 2021 Bob Cousy Award, which is given to the best point guard in Division-1 men’s college basketball.

The junior averaged 20.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists in 28 games this season, including 19.5 points, 5.7 boards, and 5.2 assists during play in the competitive Big Ten conference.

Dosunmu’s efforts helped Illinois to a 23-6 regular season record, which included a 16-4 mark in the conference that was good for second in the Big Ten. After suffering a head injury late in the season that kept him out for three games, the guard returned to help the Illini win the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2005.

After his outstanding 2020-2021 season, his third at Illinois, Dosunmu is expected to enter the NBA Draft within the next few weeks.