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GONZAGA MEN’S BASKETBALL: Ayayi returning for junior year

by From news services
| August 2, 2020 1:10 AM

2020 West Coast Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player will be back in 2020-21

SPOKANE — Gonzaga’s Joel Ayayi announced Saturday that he will not pursue any professional options and will return for his junior season.

Ayayi, who was named the 2020 West Coast Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player, appeared in all 33 games this past season, starting in 23. He averaged 10.6 points, 6.3 rebounds (which was eighth in WCC), 3.2 assists (11th in WCC), and 1.2 steals (10th in WCC) per game. He was fourth in the conference with a 2.08 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Ayayi scored a career-high 21 points, with 12 rebounds, in the Battle 4 Atlantis quarterfinals versus Southern Miss on Nov. 27. He grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds, with 10 points, against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The Bordeaux, France, native had seven assists twice, including in the win at No. 15 Arizona on Dec. 14. He scored in double-digits 20 times in 2019-20.

Filip Petrusev announced on July 20 that he will forego his junior year at Gonzaga to play professionally in Serbia. Corey Kispert. a rising senior at Gonzaga, is weighing his draft options, but has not announced his intentions. The deadline to declare is today.

Ayayi helped the Bulldogs qualify for their 22nd straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2019-20. Gonzaga finished the shortened season at 31-2, going 15-1 in conference play, winning the league regular season title for a national-best eighth straight season. Gonzaga is the only program in the country to have reached 30 wins in each of the past four seasons.