JUCO guard Ben Bayela commits to East Carolina

JUCO guard Ben Bayela commits to East Carolina

New ECU basketball coach Michael Schwartz hasn’t been afraid to pull in international prospects during his time as a coach at the collegiate level. One of the first players he chose to reach out to an offer upon landing the job in Greenville was France native and South Plains College shooting guard I’m Bayela. That’s resulted in a commitment from the 6-foot-6 guard, who will head to Greenville with three years of eligibility remaining.

Bayela was offered last week by Schwartz and assistant coach Riley Davis. Both Schwartz and Davis have ties to Texas, where South Plains College is located. Bayela has spent the last three seasons there. He received a redshirt this past season as he recovered from a torn ACL. The 2020-21 campaign didn’t count against him due to COVID-19.

Pacific and UTEP offered Bayela in recent weeks. Earlier in the recruiting process, before the injury, Bayela had offers from Oklahoma State, St. John’s, Texas A&M, and USF.

Bayela spoke to Hoist The Colors last week about his offer from ECU and interest in the program.

“He was excited to offer me,” Bayela said. “We talked about everything with the program. He said he wants to rebuild the program and bring the same spirit as Tennessee. He wants players who are sound fundamentally, can do different things on the court, are really good in the locker room, and always play hard and give their all. ”

When healthy, Bayela has proven to be a versatile guard who can shoot, score in multiple ways, and provide length defensively on the perimeter. He told 247Sports he was fully cleared a month ago to return to action after an extensive rehab process.

As a freshman at South Plains College, he averaged 12.2 points per game and shot 38.3 percent from 3-point range and 72 percent from the line. As a sophomore, he averaged 10.5 points per game and shot 42.9 percent from the field, 30.9 percent from 3, and 70 percent from the line with 6.1 rebounds per game, 15 steals and nine blocks in 19 games.

“I feel like I fit in with that style and can fit in on the court,” Bayela said. “I can play defense on everybody because of my length. I have a 7-foot wingspan. I can do everything on the court and that’s why they’re looking at me. ”

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