Joel Ayayi returns to Gonzaga

After having his name in the draft, Joel Ayayi announces that he will return for his junior season. Ayayi is a playmaker, I’m a big fan of what Ayayi does. He averaged 10.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game last season, he shot 48% from the field, and 34% from deep. His talent is super evident. I still think Gonzaga is by far the best team in the league.

Here’s their Lineup going into next season:

PG: Joel Ayayi

SG: Jalen Suggs

SF: Corey Kispert (Likely to return)

PF: Anton Watson

C: Drew Timme

Bench: Oumar Ballo, Aaron Cook (Southern Illinois), Julian Strawther, Martynas Arlauskas, Dominick Harris

Even when losing Petrusev I don’t think that’s a big deal, as Drew Timme can easily replace that production. Timme is a more talented player, better offensively, he has more energy, is better athlete and is much quicker on defense. Petrusev is one of the slowest players in recent memory defensively, he just has slow feet and isn’t a fit in today’s NBA therefore he goes overseas.

Aaron Cook is a guy I can see playing a role, similar to Geno Crandall playing 15 minutes per game off the bench, using his veteran leadership to help young guys like Suggs, and Harris get a hold of the curve from high school to College. Cook played three seasons at Southern Illinois but only played in a few games this season earning him a medical redshirt and gave him the ability to graduate and transfer.

Oumar Ballo is a guy people in Gonzaga circles seem to love his potential, he redshirted last season as a Freshman. He’s 6’11” and 250 pounds, he’s an old school big man who will could use his strength at the hoop and in the WCC where aren’t isn’t a ton of bigs with strength that’s huge. I’d like to see him and Timme play alongside each other, that’s a absolutely scary duo down-low.

Then you look at who can develop between Watson and Strawther guys who can run the wing and the 4 who can separate themselves as a starter out of the two? I’d guess Watson because I just feel like overall he’s currently a better player but Strawther is very good too. When you’re discussing which former Top-75 recruit is better that’s a great issue to have, its actual a non-issue, they have a surplus of talent at literally every position it’s ridiculous.

The Zags will be my preseason number one team going into next season.

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