With the commitment of Joel Ayayi, the Gonzaga coaching staff secured another interesting option in the backcourt. Ayayi, one of the most highly thought of young guards in Europe, will bring an NBA frame to Spokane, which will allow the coaching staff to really grow him into his potential.
For another viewpoint on what Gonzaga is getting, we caught up with Francecso Cavalli, the Director of Scouting at Eurohopes, for his breakdown on the talented guard.
According to Cavalli, the Zags are getting a natural talent that has really improved his game over the past couple of years.
“Ayayi is a combo guard with good frame, length and quickness,” Cavalli confirmed. “He's a smart player with natural instincts to create for his teammates, probably at this point better as a secondary ball-handler but likely developing as a point guard. Doesn't need to keep the ball in his hands a lot to be effective, can score easily off the catch or starting the possession off the ball. He's improved a lot as a shooter in the past two years and has range from well beyond the college three-point line.”
One reminder that we have constantly heard on Ayayi is that his best basketball is in the future. This was something that the Eurohopes Scout reminded us of.
“First of all, we have to consider that Joel is among the youngest incoming freshmen in 2017, and the youngest from Europe; he won't even be NBA Draft eligible until 2019, so not necessarily he'll a have huge impact as a freshman. I can see him earning playing time right away thanks to his defensive skills.”
The Gonzaga brand continues to really resonate in Europe, and according to Cavalli, this is something the coaching staff continues to grow with top prospects.
“NCAA teams are more and more recruiting outside the USA and particularly in Europe, because of the big competitions around American players,” explained the director of scouting. If you know the basketball scene outside the USA, you have a good chance to arrive well before than anyone else on a prospect and keep his recruitment under the radar: I think that Gonzaga has understood this before other teams, establishing its name overseas and having now a tradition of developing and giving exposure to these players. Of course, the National Championship run has helped in improving this, just like it helps also in American recruiting.”