Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Eric Ayala to Remain in Class of 2018, Discusses Options
NEW YORK — Eric Ayala could have gone to college this coming fall and played at a place like Syracuse, which was recruiting him hard.
“I mean, Syracuse was really the only school that was pushing the hardest for ’17,” Ayala said this past weekend at the Under Armor Association stop. “Every school that offered me was offering for both classes but some schools mentioned that, ‘We’ll take you in ’17 but if you want to come in ’18 that’s fine, too.'”
The 6-foot-5, 195-pound Putnam Science Academy (CT) and WE-R1 point guard opted to remain in the Class of 2018 and will now have a full year to make his college decision. He is ranked the No. 5 combo guard in 2018 by 247Sports.com.
“I just feel like I got a better opportunity in 2018 as far as trying to establish myself,” he said. “I just want to keep getting better. I’m not in a rush to go to college and rush the process.”
Ayala said Oregon, Miami, Syracuse, Arizona and Maryland all watched him this weekend at Basketball City. Indiana also offered Ayala on Monday, too, he said.
“I just want to see what’s out there as far as recruiting,” he said.
He broke down several schools:
Maryland: “This year they played a lot of freshmen, so coach [Mark Turgeon] is definitely willing to play freshmen. That’s intriguing to me.”
Syracuse: “I definitely have an opportunity to come in and play right away. If I come in ’18, hopefully Tyus [Battle] will have a good enough year where he’ll be able to leave. Even for this year, coming in this year, I would have been able to play with Tyus and Frank Howard and they got a new commit, Howard Washington, so being able to play with those guys.”
Arizona: “They’re kind of recruiting me as a point guard. They’re also recruiting Jahvon Quinerly so they’re looking to recruit a point guard to come in and play our game.”
Oregon: “They losing four starters and a lot of seniors and a lot of them going to the NBA – Dillon Brooks, Tyler Dorsey, Dylan Ennis, Jordan Bell – so there’s definitely room to come in and play right away.”
Miami: “Same thing with them just being able to come in and play right away. Nobody’s telling me I’m starting, I feel I gotta earn that as a player and a competitor but just coming in and being able to make an immediate impact, but working for it at the same time.”
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.