COLLEGE PARK, Md. (June 30, 2021) — All-Big Ten guard Eric Ayala has announced he will withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and return to College Park for his senior season.
“I’m excited to announce I’ll be returning to Maryland for my senior season,” Ayala said. “I took my time throughout this process and am appreciative of the feedback I received. I can’t wait to get to work with our team and play in front of the best fans in the country once again!”
Ayala was the top scorer for the Terrapins in 2020-21, averaging 15.1 points and adding 4.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists. He was tremendous in the final four games of the season (all postseason), averaging 19.0 points and 6.3 rebounds.
“I’m proud of Eric for taking his time throughout this process and obtaining the feedback needed to make an informed decision on his future,” said head coach Mark Turgeon. “Eric is one of the top guards in the Big Ten Conference and possesses experience at the highest level of college basketball that can’t be taught. He will earn his degree from a top-notch university and continue to build on his tremendous basketball resume to set himself up for the future.”
The 2021 All-Big Ten selection has appeared in 94 career games, making 81 starts. After averaging 8.6 and 8.5 points in his freshman and sophomore seasons, respectively, Ayala broke out with 15.1 points/g as a junior. His shooting also improved, jumping from 36-percent to 44-percent (FG) in his sophomore and junior seasons and from 27-percent to 34-percent from 3-point land.
The Wilmington, Del., native has helped lead the Terrapins to three NCAA Tournaments (the Terps were a lock in 2019-20 before the season was cancelled due to Covid-19). He also appeared in all 31 games (20 starts) in Maryland’s Big Ten Championship season, scoring a season-high 19 points in the championship-clinching win against Michigan.
Ayala returns to a Maryland program poised for a big season in 2021-22, having been projected to be ranked in the top-15 by virtually every national outlet. The Terps return leading rebounder and third-leading scorer Donta Scott (27 starts) as well as Hakim Hart (19 starts), in addition to adding key transfers Qudus Wahab (Georgetown), Fatts Russell (Rhode Island), Ian Martinez (Utah) and Pavlo Dziuba (Arizona State).