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Thread: Joel Ayayi Interview

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    Default Joel Ayayi Interview

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    Joel Ayayi, or the discovery of the NCAA at 17
    By Emmanuel Laurin - The 2nd of December 2017 at 15:2914
    Since his post on Twitter that announced his signature Gonzaga, nothing had really leaked on the status of Joel Ayayi (1m95, 78 kg) in the Bulldogs. Match after match, he was absent from boxscores and yet well present in the squad. The mystery is solved: the little brother of the international Valerian has confirmed that he was going to make a year redshirt Gonzaga. Which means he has the right to train with his new team, and his academic career will begin next year. He will then always be freshman.

    For Basket USA, the 17-year-old French prospect is returning with maturity to his new American life, the reasons for his choice, his adaptation to the Spokane campus and his goals for his upcoming NCAA career. Interview river ...

    "We decided that the redshirt was the best solution for me"
    Joel, how is your integration in the team? Did Killian's presence make your job easier?

    "It was facilitated by Killian, for sure. It was an important factor in my decision. Overall, Gonzaga was the best project for me. To have Killian with me is a plus. I progress in English, I progress in basketball, I progress physically. For me, all the lights are green for the moment. "

    But you will not play this season, it's the famous redshirt ... Is not it a shame to deprive you of this experience of matches?

    "Yes, I'll do redshirt all season. But I do not see it as a negative point. I'm young, I'm only 17 years old and we do not necessarily want to expose myself and put myself in difficulties. If it's just to play 3, 4 or 10 minutes per game, it's not necessarily the best thing. So, I'm a little in incubator. I work more than others, I have more sessions of muscu, I do more workouts. After, it'll be up to me next year to prove that I can have a good role in the team. "

    Did you know that you would not play in a match when signing in Gonzaga?

    "We did not know yet, it was up to me to make the decision. We all discussed it together. It came late. It was the day of the first game of the season. We really thought about it and decided it would be the best solution. It was late. "

    How did you make that decision?

    "As a competitor, we always want to play. My first reaction was disappointment. But it's a decision we made together, the staff and me. So in the end, I'm not too disappointed because I had already weighed the pros and cons. And I think this is the best solution for the rest of my career. "

    "For two or three weeks, I was a little in trouble! "
    Is not it frustrating not being able to play the games? Like during this tournament in Portland, in an NBA room!

    "It's clear that sometimes it's frustrating. The competitor in me, he wants to play, especially in this NBA room! It's something we want to live. But it will come, I have time. I know I could do it next year. "

    How does it work for a redshirt player?

    "In training, I am a player like any other. I do all the training like everyone else. But the day of the match, I warm up but I do not play. "

    How were your first days in Spokane? Your first workouts?

    "When I arrived, it was really a radical change. It was really impressive. The level of play, the speed, the physical aspect, it was complicated. I struggled to adapt but now, it's getting better. I am more and more in the mold. They know that I'm 17, that I have time. But I'm happy with my progress. I take things from day to day. Because every training is like a match for me. "

    How long did it take to adapt roughly? Two, three weeks?

    " Yes that's it. For two or three weeks, I was a little in trouble! In addition, it was a new rhythm of life and work. I had the muscu sessions in addition to the others. There, it's been a month and a half, two months that I'm good again in my basketball. I take full measure of what I am given. "

    What was the hardest? Bodybuilding ?

    "I had pain everywhere. And then, the joints, I began to have knee pain. In general, in bodybuilding, when you do a good session, you feel it ... And then, I come to training, and I say to myself: bug, I have to defend on Josh [Perkins] all the training and I already have heavy arms. And then, as and when, we adapt. "

    And in terms of language, how does it work for basketball terms? And the new systems?

    "It was all of a sudden. That's why the first two weeks was hard! All the vocabulary, all the terms. A lot to assimilate at once! Finally, we adapt well. We have the playbooks to review. And then, day by day, we repeat the systems each time to learn them well. With the variants. We are progressing well. Me, it helps me in my English too. "

    Do you also have a nutrition program to gain some weight and muscle? How many meals a day for example?

    "It's not just bodybuilding. Next door, you also need nutrition. And basically, as soon as I can, I eat! It can go from 5 to 6 meals a day. For bodybuilding, you need protein and you have to eat a lot of calories because you lose them in training. It's not easy to gain weight in the regular season. "

    "In two or three years, I hope to be ready for the NBA"
    What is your specific program, as a redshirt? In bodybuilding first?

    "I have four sessions of individual muscu per week, with the physical trainer. Plus two more sessions with the team. And every day, I have at least one or two individual workouts in addition to the training and the muscu. And even on match day, before the warm-up, I have my workout and muscu. So, the days of the match, I can also spend myself. "

    And in pure basketball, what are the exercises or areas where you work the most? Dribbling, shooting, defense ...

    "We almost started from scratch. We redid all the fundamentals. To be bent for example. The technique of shooting too. I changed my shooting mechanics. The dribble, I work every day. It's clear that shooting and dribbling are the two areas where I work the most. All that is change of pace, all that is necessary for a good playmaker, is what is done day by day. "

    Can you go back on your reasoning to go to Gonzaga? Rather than staying in France in this case ...

    "What motivated me already is that I was one year ahead of school, and I did not want to lose him. I knew that in the United States, they have a capacity to develop players that is a little higher than in Europe. And then, when Gonzaga called me, it was kind of the ideal project for me because it's a game that gets closer to the European game. Killian was already there. We talked about a project for me, of which the redshirt project is part, and in the end, I think I made the right choice. For my individual development. I wanted to learn American culture too because it's the closest thing to the NBA. "

    Can we know what other universities were?

    "I had about 20 universities who called me. From different levels. I had Georgia Tech, Arizona, Oklahoma, Florida. I could have stayed in France or in Europe. I could have integrated a professional workforce, with the constraints and the qualities that it presents. It was not an easy choice. But I really do not regret. "

    Have you already sketched a career plan? Or is it still too early?

    "I have a career plan because I know what I want. And that's what guides me. After, I do not know when it will happen. I hope as soon as possible but we must continue to progress each day. And then come the day I'll be ready to go to the NBA. "

    Your goal is therefore the Grand League?

    "Clearly. "

    Gonzaga should serve as a stepping stone, but how long do you plan to stay there? After your year redshirt, it will take at least another season, or two ...

    "In two, three years, I hope to be ready both at the physical level and the basketball level. This year is a year of transition that is going pretty well. Especially thanks to the redshirt, it allows me to be on the side and learn a lot watching the games. Without pressure. Next year, we will really get to the heart of the matter, with a real role in the team. And I hope the next year that I will have even more responsibilities and where I will have to be at a higher level. "

    "Gonzaga? The campus experience I was looking for »
    Does the presence of the junior leader, Josh Perkins, also explain in part the reason for the redshirt?

    "No, we did not really take that into account. It was clear that I would not be allowed more than 15 minutes or 10 minutes per game. That was the real reason. But the fact that he is there is also very good for me because the training, I'm always on it and it helps me to progress. When you see his level of play, it's all bonus for me. "

    If you are told that you have a profile at Frank Ntilikina, do you subscribe?

    "I've already heard a bit about it. It's a good comparison for me. This is a good example to follow. If I can be as strong as him defensively and offensively, it suits me. He, like me, must still progress in the game's vision and aggressive aggressiveness. But he's two or three levels above me ... "

    And unlike Ntilikina, you chose the NCAA way before the NBA ...

    "We have two different paths but I hope it will take me to the same place as him. "

    How is life in the United States for Joel Ayayi?

    "My American life is the life of the athlete on campus. We are a little more recognized than ordinary students. We really have a small campus, so it allows everyone to know each other, it's really family, it's cool. Frankly, that too, that's what I was looking for. And then, American life, everything is bigger! Everything is bigger! I get used to it well. I like it. "

    France do not miss you yet? It's okay ?

    " Not yet. France itself, no. It's the family rather ... But that's fine! "

    And then student life? Have you already declared your major?

    "I do not have a major yet but I still have time. I will decide soon. At first, it's hot. It's a lot of homework compared to France. But I like it a lot. Above all, what I like is that there is a lot of choice of courses. I will find my way soon. "

    For the anecdote, who is the strongest one-on-one between your sister Valerian [back / wing of Villeneuve d'Ascq, double champion of France] and you?

    "I'm fighting it, that's for sure! Now, I fight it! I think I started winning when I was 14-15 years old. When I started to grow up and become stronger. She's having a good season for the moment. I am obviously. I hope it will continue like this. "

    The opinion of his coach, Mark Few

    "He's so young, he's only 17 years old. He is still learning the American system and game. He still has a lot of problems with his footwork: he does all the time, on his dribbling starts but also to stop where he treads. But his defense is already in point. To tell the truth, I could already put it in match today and it would come out by its defense, and its outside shoot. He has to clean his game of his marchers and his lost balls, but that will come with practice.

    He will be a good player. He is still growing, his body is not yet fully mature. He is still very light! He has not finished developing yet, so we give him time to reinforce him too much in bodybuilding. We'll see what happens [for next year]. He must continue to progress and we will see what he can do in the team. "

    http://www.basketusa.com/news/459908...ncaa-a-17-ans/

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    Thanks, this was an interesting read!
    “When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.”

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    Thanks for posting. Enjoyed the article. It appears Ayayi is very mature for a 17 year old. Next year should be very exciting.

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    Thanks Zd.

    "The D is already there." Good news.
    "I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in..."

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    Thanks. Great read. I really loved it. It was a great way to get to know him. He seems very mature for a 17 year old.
    Go Zags!!! The Best Is Yet To Come!!!

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    Great interview! That really answered a lot of questions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
    Thanks. Great read. I really loved it. It was a great way to get to know him. He seems very mature for a 17 year old.
    Yes, and he is the most animated, upbeat guy on the bench. He seems to love his teammates and celebrating them. Fun to watch already!
    “I don’t expect us to be perfect anytime soon,” guard Silas Melson said, “but one thing I do expect is trying to get better every day and playing tougher, harder and more physical than the opponent.”

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    Seems like the staff really emphasized lessons learned from Rui's experience last year. He describes facing some of the same struggles with language and level of play that Rui faced. Big advantage to do that while not having to worry about playing time, too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kitzbuel View Post
    Seems like the staff really emphasized lessons learned from Rui's experience last year. He describes facing some of the same struggles with language and level of play that Rui faced. Big advantage to do that while not having to worry about playing time, too.

    Sent from my XT1710-02 using Tapatalk
    In the case of Rui though, he likely wont be at Gonzaga all five years, so the redshirt year wasnt really necessary. Plus his body is already NBA ready. While Joel wants to be in the NBA in 2 years, his age and body to me would indicate he might need these 5 years to really grow and progress.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigsmoove View Post
    In the case of Rui though, he likely wont be at Gonzaga all five years, so the redshirt year wasnt really necessary. Plus his body is already NBA ready. While Joel wants to be in the NBA in 2 years, his age and body to me would indicate he might need these 5 years to really grow and progress.
    if you show nba talent, the nba has proven it doesn't really care whether or not the body is nba ready yet...don't think tillie is nba ready, but he'll certainly get drafted if he decides to leave. so if ayayi translates the obvious athleticism/length into skill in a hurry, he could certainly be gone early (soph at the soonest).

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    Many, many thanks, Zagdawg. A great read. Exactly what I was looking for!
    SLOZag
    "Kids come here to better their own lives, not ours. If you take a player’s failures as a personal affront…. check yourself." - Chick-Stratino'sUrDaddy

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    I had to point out...

    Joel JUST turned 18 this week.

    Was 17 this entire season. Amazing.

    Still growing...6'5" now.
    "Rob plays with a high level of intensity when it's time, has a good time when it's not ... I love his enthusiasm and his zest for life. He picks us all up when he enters the gym."

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    Thank you for the update!

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    Quote Originally Posted by raise the zag View Post
    I had to point out...

    Joel JUST turned 18 this week.

    Was 17 this entire season. Amazing.

    Still growing...6'5" now.
    he needs to stop growing so he can start putting on some weight!!!

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    Can we know what other universities were?

    "I had about 20 universities who called me. From different levels. I had Georgia Tech, Arizona, Oklahoma, Florida. I could have stayed in France or in Europe. I could have integrated a professional workforce, with the constraints and the qualities that it presents. It was not an easy choice. But I really do not regret. "
    Jay Bilas continues to call Gonzaga a mid major, in part, because Few recruits foreign players. The truth is that all of GU's foreign players are high major prospects or McDonald's All Americans. When you have the connections that Tommy Lloyd has, and all of his international recruiting experience, what's the point in spending three years recruiting a U.S. kid from Baltimore when Lloyd can spend a fraction of the time and get a kid like Joel?? It's the same thing with Petrusev. Because Tommy did all the leg work overseas, it made no difference when blue bloods and high majors started calling in greater numbers when Filip hit the states.

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    Thanks for posting. Good read and I can't wait to watch him in the very near future!

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    Joel boarding plane for Boise.

    Pretty big PG

    (pictured on far right, 2nd picture, in front of plane with Wade, Kispert, Beach)

    https://twitter.com/ZagMBB/status/973745183564050432

    I didn't think RS's could travel w/team??
    "Rob plays with a high level of intensity when it's time, has a good time when it's not ... I love his enthusiasm and his zest for life. He picks us all up when he enters the gym."

    -- Coach Few

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    At 6'5", and with college-level defensive talent already, if Ayayi works on his handles and shooting enough to be a Gonzaga-level point guard*, he will be a dynamic player. If I recall properly, people have said that he is the fastest player on the team. He could still easily get minutes at the wing, but with Kispert and Norvell here I would really like to see him be able to slide into the PG spot. First guard off the bench as a combo guard would make sense, as well. The only thing left is feel for the game-- I hope he has it.

    I'm excited to see him play.


    *Not meaning to ignore Perkins, who is the PG until he decides he doesn't want to be anymore; given his 5th year status (and no inside info), I wouldn't be surprised if he pulled a NWG.

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    Quote Originally Posted by raise the zag View Post
    Joel boarding plane for Boise.

    Pretty big PG

    (pictured on far right, 2nd picture, in front of plane with Wade, Kispert, Beach)

    https://twitter.com/ZagMBB/status/973745183564050432

    I didn't think RS's could travel w/team??
    Seen the team in person last week, and Joel has really grown physically. I have a feeling he's going to be a Star.

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    It seems pretty cruel to not let a redshirt travel with the team to the NCAA tournament.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPtheBeasta View Post
    It seems pretty cruel to not let a redshirt travel with the team to the NCAA tournament.
    Doesn't Ayayi suit up for every game? His Red Shirt doesn't have to be declared until season is over and he doesn't play for this season? I could be wrong, but I thought I read somewhere that he is a roster player and ready to come in the game in the event that something tragic happens but they hold him out to keep his "red shirt" status in tact.

    I've never looked into the actual rules, but that was my understanding anyway. It would be nice that they allow him to travel with the team in exchange for him agreeing/offering to red shirt this year.

    26 hours till tip off... GO ZAGS!

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    Ive pretty well given up trying to postulate how a player is going to be their first or second year in. The ones I thought would be here four years have left early, the ones I thought would leave early only get spot minutes... all I know at this point is that a GU point guard has a heck of a lot riding on them and they are required to be a heady player. I hope Ayayi hits the ground running.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zag_Dad View Post
    Doesn't Ayayi suit up for every game? His Red Shirt doesn't have to be declared until season is over and he doesn't play for this season? I could be wrong, but I thought I read somewhere that he is a roster player and ready to come in the game in the event that something tragic happens but they hold him out to keep his "red shirt" status in tact.!
    That is correct.
    "I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in..."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zag_Dad View Post
    Doesn't Ayayi suit up for every game? His Red Shirt doesn't have to be declared until season is over and he doesn't play for this season? I could be wrong, but I thought I read somewhere that he is a roster player and ready to come in the game in the event that something tragic happens but they hold him out to keep his "red shirt" status in tact.

    I've never looked into the actual rules, but that was my understanding anyway. It would be nice that they allow him to travel with the team in exchange for him agreeing/offering to red shirt this year.

    26 hours till tip off... GO ZAGS!
    From everything I've heard, the staff never expected Joel to be here four years anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasZagFan View Post
    From everything I've heard, the staff never expected Joel to be here four years anyway.
    You are correct, sir.

    Joel said it himself...he is on a 2 yr plan until he moves on to the next level.

    We shall see
    "Rob plays with a high level of intensity when it's time, has a good time when it's not ... I love his enthusiasm and his zest for life. He picks us all up when he enters the gym."

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