French guard Joel Ayayi declared he will attend and play basketball for the Gonzaga Bulldogs next season.
The Zags were seen as a front runner for the explosive guard. Ayayi attended INSEP in Paris, and the Zags currently have one alum already on the roster in Killian Tillie (not to mention one from way back when in Ronny Turiaf).
Ayayi is a little rough around the edges, but there is no denying his quickness. He stands around 6’5 right now, but has a long 6’7 wingspan.
He started opening eyes at the U16 tournament, in part where he grabbed over 10 rebounds per 40 minutes. Ayayi does need a bit of fine tuning, however. Many scouts who have watched his play note he relies on his quickness and athleticism for a lot of his positives. He doesn’t have the best handles yet, and his unorthodox shooting style makes him a slightly streaky shooter.
Ayayi is a pickup for the Zags that might pay a few dividends next season, but will definitely pay out royally in years to come. He is young and thin, and still needs quite a bit of bulking up to do to compete at the college level consistently. But when he does, think of a Dmitri Goodson speed with a much higher upside, and that is your man.
Scouts have also mentioned how Ayayi likes to play off the ball more, although he is comfortable running the point. With Silas Melson departing after next season, and Josh Perkins after that, the Bulldogs appear to have secured their back court going forward in Jesse Wade and Ayayi. Wade is a deadly marksman from outside, and he will be able to compliment the slashing abilities of Ayayi.