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Joel Ayayi Withdraws From NBA Draft

The talented guard is back for his junior year.

NCAA Basketball: West Coast Conference Tournament-Gonzaga vs Saint Mary’s Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Ayayi has withdrawn from the NBA Draft and will return to the Gonzaga Bulldogs men’s basketball program for his junior season, he announced today.

The Ayayi hype train can take off from the station once again. Ayayi averaged 10.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game last season for the Bulldogs. At times, he was absolutely brilliant, looking like a borderline triple-double machine. Just as often, he seemed to disappear from games.

Although Ayayi was appearing in some NBA Draft consideration, it was as a late second-rounder, at best. Ayayi has plenty to gain by returning to the Bulldogs for his junior season. He will help anchor a backcourt with Jalen Suggs, Aaron Cook, and Dominick Harris.

Ayayi is also a young junior. He won’t turn 21 until March of next year. If he can improve his three-point shot a little bit and demonstrate some more consistency, he will easily be able to make a case why he belongs on an NBA squad.

Ayayi was one of three Gonzaga players to declare for the draft at the shortened end of this past season. Filip Petrusev ultimately left the team to play professional ball in Europe. Corey Kispert is the last remaining hold out. The NCAA set the early entry withdrawal deadline for Aug. 3.

Gonzaga tends to enjoy to sprinkle out its news releases to give each player airtime. Ayayi, Petrusev, and Kispert all declared for the draft in three-straight days, so it would not be far-fetched to assume we will possibly hear a decision about Kispert tomorrow.