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Michael Ajayi, No. 6 Player in Transfer Portal, Plans Official Visit to Oxford

Michael Ajayi, No. 6 Player in Transfer Portal, Plans Official Visit to Oxford

OXFORD, Miss. — The 2023-24 Ole Miss Men’s basketball season came to an abrupt end last Thursday Night in Nashville. The Rebels lost their first and only game of the SEC Tournament to Texas A&M, 80-71. Despite the loss, however, Chris Beard’s first year at the helm of the Rebels’ basketball program was a success in my opinion.

Beard led the team to its first 20-win season since 2019 and had the program playing meaningful games at the end of February and into March. Ole Miss was even offered an invitation to play in this year’s NIT Tournament. Beard respectfully declined the invitation, shifting his focus to the transfer portal which opened on Monday.

Since the opening of the transfer portal, Ole Miss has been extremely active in conversations with many players all across the country. Check out The Rebel Walk’s Transfer Portal Tracker to see who Beard and his staff have been talking to since the opening of the portal.

One player the Rebels have focused on from the moment he entered his name in the portal is Michael Ajayi. Per On3’s Joe Tipton, Ajayi is expected to visit Ole Miss in the next week or two, making him the first player from this transfer cycle to visit Oxford. 

Michael Ajayi, a rising senior, is a 6-foot-7 guard/forward combo who most recently played for the  Pepperdine Waves in the West Coast Conference (WCC). Ajayi is currently listed as the No. 6 player in the transfer portal due to his fantastic season with the Waves and earned a spot on the All-WCC First Team

His first and only season at Pepperdine was a huge success as he averaged 17.2 PTS, 9.9 REB, and 1.9 AST per game in his junior season. On top of those already impressive numbers, he is one of the more efficient three point shooters in the country by shooting 46.8% from behind the arc. This number is good enough to be in the 98th percentile among all college players. 

Because of Ajayi’s strong shooting numbers, he led the WCC this past season in total points scored, points per game, as well as finishing 4th in FG%. Ajayi is the type of player who can score at all three levels of the game. He is extremely efficient from behind the arc, loves scoring in the paint (99th percentile in 2-pt shot attempts), and gets to the line. Ajayi is one of the best players in the entire country at getting to the line as he averaged a staggering 5.2 attempts per game. 

Outside of just being one of the top scorers in all of college basketball this season, Ajayi is also one of the best rebounders in the entire country. His 7.8 DREB per game puts him first in the WCC in total defensive rebounds, and his 2.4 OREB puts him 4th in the WCC in total offensive rebounds. These numbers are not just impressive in the WCC; his rebounding statistics place him in the 99th percentile among all players in college hoops. 

His rebounding would bring a much needed boost to Ole Miss who really struggled in this department throughout the season. At the end of the season, the Rebels clocked in as the second-to-worst team in the SEC in rebounding, only averaging 23 per game. Michael Ajayi’s presence would really boost this number as well as help out with the offensive rebounding/second-chance points numbers as well. Bringing in offensive boards and scoring second-chance points really inhibited the Rebels this past season and actually cost them some games. Michael Ajayi would be an absolute game changer in these departments.

Outside of Ole Miss, it has been reported that Ajayi will be taking a visit to Gonzaga in the next few weeks as well. His visit date will depend on what the Bulldogs do in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Expect Gonzaga to make a strong push for the No. 6 player in the portal as Ajayi actually attended Pierce College, a JUCO program, in Puyallup, Washington before enrolling at Pepperdine.

Michael Ajayi is also hearing from many high major programs across the country such as Indiana, Kansas, Arizona, Arkansas, Baylor, UCLA, and Virginia. Chris Beard and his staff will really have to fight to get Ajayi to commit to Ole Miss; however, being one of the first schools he takes an official visit to is already a really good sign.

Outside of Michael Ajayi, the Rebels will definitely have more players visiting Oxford in the future as Beard’s team has a few unfilled scholarships. With the losses of Matthew Murrell (most likely going to the draft), Allen Flanigan (graduation), and Rashaud Marshall (transfer portal), Beard will have at least three more scholarships to offer to players in the portal. 

For all things transfer portal, make sure to check out the Rebel Walk’s transfer portal tracker. And stay tuned for many more updates on the Men’s Basketball Offseason!

Coleman Young

Coleman Young

Coleman Young is a 2021 graduate of Ole Miss. Born and raised in Baltimore, Coleman has always been an avid basketball fan, growing up watching the Maryland Terrapins. His love for college hoops grew even more when he attended Ole Miss in 2017. Coleman is a huge fan of all Ole Miss sports as well as the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles. He was previously an Ole Miss College Hoops contributor at OleHottyToddy.com.

About The Author

Coleman Young

Coleman Young is a 2021 graduate of Ole Miss. Born and raised in Baltimore, Coleman has always been an avid basketball fan, growing up watching the Maryland Terrapins. His love for college hoops grew even more when he attended Ole Miss in 2017. Coleman is a huge fan of all Ole Miss sports as well as the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles. He was previously an Ole Miss College Hoops contributor at OleHottyToddy.com.

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