The 2010’s were a rough decade for Illini basketball enthusiasts, to put it nicely. The orange and blue went through perhaps the worst decade in their storied history, only making the NCAA Tournament twice. However, there were some good players who suited up for Illinois. Let’s take a look at the top five Illini Guards in the 2010’s.
#5 Kendrick Nunn (2013-2016)
If you follow the NBA, you know who Kendrick Nunn is. The current guard for the NBA Final’s Miami Heat ran into some issues in his time as an Illini, but he was very talented. Nunn averaged 10.6 points, but was in for a big senior season had he not gotten kicked off the team. In what should’ve been his senior season, the Illini were firmly on the bubble for the majority of the season, and I believe the Orange and Blue would’ve made the NCAA Tournament had Nunn been there. Nunn then transferred to Oakland, and now has one of the better stories in the NBA.
#4 DJ Richardson (2009-2013)
DJ Richardson came out of high school as a highly ranked recruit and he lived up to his rankings. Richardson and Brandon Paul made up for one of the deadliest backcourts in all of college basketball. DJ was a great shooter from deep, and was a leader during the brighter days of the 2010’s for Illini Basketball. Richardson played in two NCAA Tournaments, and went down as one of the greatest shooters in Illinois history.
#3 Brandon Paul (2009-2013)
The second player on this list of the aforementioned duo is Brandon Paul. Paul had a short stint in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs, but has made a good career over in Europe. Paul was a phenomenal guard at Illinois, and will be remembered for his 43 point game against #5 Ohio State as a Junior.
#2 Demetri McCamey (2007-2011)
Demetri McCamey was one of the best guards the Illini have seen. McCamey could do it all, but he was known as more of a passer. McCamey made the first team all Big Ten as a junior, and also led the Big Ten in assists per game. McCamey made the NCAA Tournament twice in his career with the Illini, and is now in the NBA G-League.
#1 Ayo Dosunmu (2018-Present)
The man credited with putting the Illini back on the national stage, and first on this list is undoubtedly Ayo Dosunmu. Dosunmu made the All Big Ten first team as a sophomore and was going to go to the NBA, but the urge to win a championship was too much. Dosunmu was a high ranked recruit, and came to Illinois with the goal of bringing back Illinois Basketball. At this point, it’s safe to say he’s accomplished that. Ayo is a big shot maker, draining daggers against (at the time) top 10 teams in Michigan State and Penn State. Dosunmu will probably enter the draft after the 2020-21 season, but it’s safe to say Ayo is the best guard of the 2010’s for the Illini.
Photo credit: The Athletic