Justin Dukes is a contributor to WARR.com
Morgan Park High School’s early season schedule has been nothing if not ambitious.
In playing several high profile teams, including the nation’s perceived No. 1 prep team — Findlay Prep — along with a handful of out of town trips already, the program that would like to think it currently sets the standard in Chicago has done its share to represent for the city.
Yet, due to the heavy challenges its already levied towards itself, MP has had what could be called an up and down season up to this point. Wins and losses really only have meaning during state tournament time, but in carrying a 9-5 record coming into today, the Mustangs’ on paper belie the skill and excitement they bring as a team in person, skill and excitement led by one of the most exciting young guards in America.
Ayo Dosunmu’s performance in the penultimate game of the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas against Wilson High School may have been just what the Mustangs needed to establish some form of consistency this season.
Setting the record for points scored at the Tarkanian Classic, the University of Illinois commit added one of presumably many future punctuation marks to his senior season and his Mr. Basketball for the state of Illinois candidacy. What I can appreciate about Dosunmu’s game, and this performance in particular is that it shows how efficient he is. He doesn’t seem to force a lot of shots, and while possessing a good amount of athleticism, he doesn’t overly rely on it to the point you’re asking what type of player he’ll be when it may start to fade way down the line.
At 6’4, Dosunmu has the ideal frame for his position and the type of game he plays. With a good helping of jump shots against Wilson, Dosunmu also had quite a few plays showing his subtle quickness as well. Known for how persistent he is attacking the basket, last Friday’s performance did little to refute that.
“That’s just my toughness, being from Chicago,” Dosunmu said to USA Today Sports last summer. “I’m going to try to take my man for 94 feet. I’m going to come out and play hard, be fearless and compete. That’s the best thing I can do. My dad and coach teach me to come out and compete.”
Starting off the Tarkanian Classic with back to back losses to Salesian College Prep and Rancho Christian, the Mustangs were able to right the ship with their blowout win over Wilson followed up by another double digit win over Bingham to close out the Classic.
Now participating in the Big Dipper Basketball Tournament, the Mustangs extended their winning streak to five against defending tournament champion Thornton in a tight game marked by a somewhat controversial finish that didn’t feature the services of Dosunmu, who suffered a Grade A leg sprain in the team’s tournament opener against Butler. Morgan Park plays in the Big Dipper championship game against Leo tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Rich South.
The Big Dipper Tournament has been held annually around Christmas time since 1973. The Mustangs finished first place in 1992, but have yet to reclaim a title there since.