Gonzaga Basketball Joel Ayayi

Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Joel Ayayi (11) reacts after hitting a three during the second half of a college basketball game on Saturday, January 4, 2020, at McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Wash. Gonzaga won the game 75-70. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga sophomore guard Joel Ayayi will test the professional waters, submitting his papers for early entry into the NBA Draft, but doing so without signing with an agent.

"I am entering the NBA draft, but my number one option is still to return to Gonzaga," Ayayi said in a statement. "I love the coaches, the school and my teammates. There is still a lot of uncertainty with what might happen to next year's NCAA season, so entering the draft gives me a little more time to evaluate that. I am not hiring an agent and will work directly with Coach Few and the GU coaching staff to make the best decision prior to the NCAA draft withdrawal date. Zag Up!"

Ayayi, who claimed the 2020 West Coast Conference Tournament's Most Outstanding Player award, played in all 33 GU games this season starting in 23 of them. He was one of six Zags to average over 10 points per game with 10.6 and averaged 6.33 rebounds and 3.21 assists per game as well.

Ayayi can retain his collegiate eligibility and have the option to return for his junior season at Gonzaga if he withdraws prior to the NCAA deadline of June 3. NCAA players often go this route to receive feedback from NBA scouts and experts for future professional consideration.

Junior forward Corey Kispert became the first Zag to announce testing NBA waters earlier this week.