Ayo Dosunmu has a new nickname as the Illini make a charge in the postseason.

The Masked Mamba.

Dosunmu is currently wearing a mask as a protective measure after suffering a facial injury vs. Michigan State earlier this month. The late Kobe Bryant was nicknamed, “The Black Mamba” during his playing career.

Thus, the new monicker.

He revealed that nickname with Andy Katz on the Big Ten Network after Illinois’ 90-68 win over Rutgers on Friday night.

Dosunmu has been tremendous for Illinois all season. He came into tonight’s game averaging 20.9 points per game along with 6.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists. He’s likely to be a finalist for National Player of the Year.

Illinois is in hot pursuit of a No. 1 seed after finishing second in the Big Ten standings for the regular season. It will face either Iowa or Wisconsin in the semifinals on Saturday.

Momentum for the “Masked Mamba” nickname has been building on Twitter since he first revealed the new nickname.


Selection Sunday is on March 14.