Gonzaga’s Joel Ayayi was named to the 20-player preseason watch list for the Jerry West Award.
The award is presented annually to the top shooting guard in Division I college basketball.
Ayayi enjoyed a breakout 2020 season by averaging 10.6 points. 6.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.3 steals. The redshirt junior from Bordeaux, France, moved into the starting lineup in early December and hit a clutch 3-pointer late in GU’s 83-76 road victory over Washington in his second game as a starter.
The 6-foot-5 Ayayi ranked second on the team in rebounding and his 2.08 assist-to-turnover ratio was fourth in the West Coast Conference. He averaged 15.5 points and eight boards to earn WCC Tournament MVP honors. Ayayi declared for the NBA draft before deciding to return for his junior season.
The Zags are expected to face at least three other players on the West watch list: Baylor’s MaCio Teague, Iowa’s Joe Wieskamp and Ochai Agbaji of Kansas.
Gonzaga joins Baylor, Creighton, Florida State, Kansas and Villanova as programs with both guards on preseason watch lists. GU’s Jalen Suggs on Monday was named to the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award watch list.
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