With high school basketball practice having started Monday, I wanted to pass along a few notes about Bowling Green junior center Joseph Ayers.
BG coach D.G. Sherrill is expecting Ayers, who stands 6 feet 8 inches, to draw some attention this season as he continues to progress. Based on conversations this summer, Western Kentucky is among those that Sherrill thinks will be keeping a close eye, he said.
“He’s a kid that I think will have a handful of schools watching him this year,” Sherrill said. “I think he has to have a strong year. He had a great summer, so there was some interest. He’s 6-8, he’s very athletic, he’s a great finisher. He’s a great student, so I think if he develops, there will be even more interest.”
Ayers, who grew quickly and weighs about 175 pounds “soaking wet,” Sherrill said, averaged 3.7 points and 2.7 rebounds as a sophomore during BG’s run to a Region 4 title and state tournament appearance.
He shot 55.2 percent from the field – the highest mark on the team – while taking the eighth most shots for the Purples.
“He has to get better and get stronger,” Sherrill said. “He can’t help some being as thin as he is, so that’s not going to happen overnight. His physical strength has to get a lot better. He’s grown so fast. He could get a little more tenacious on defense, but he’s a great shot-blocker. He also needs a little more diversified offensive game. He’s a great free-throw shooter, so he’s got to be able to pull that 15-footer consistently.
“He already runs the floor very well and is a good on-the-ball guy, and he’s so intelligent that he p
icks things up very quickly. But the physicality of the college game is where he has room to grow.”
Ayers is the nephew of Randy Ayers, who played at Miami (Ohio) University and was later a head coach, most prominently with
Ohio State and the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. He’s currently an assistant with the New Orleans Hornets.
Joseph Ayers will have the opportunity for some good exposure this season, as the Purples will be one of the favorites to win Region 4 again and will play in the prestigious King of the Bluegrass tournament in December at Fairdale High School in Louisville.
“He knows there’s a lot of work to do,” Sherrill said. “There’s a bright side for him if he can get things going the right way.”