- The Washington Times
Wednesday, June 1, 2022

The Washington Wizards held their first pre-draft workout on Wednesday, and former Maryland Terrapins guard Eric Ayala said he would love to remain in the D.C. area.

Ayala, a four-year starter at Maryland, was one of six players with local ties invited to the Wizards’ first pre-draft workout, and he told reporters after the session that “it would be a blessing” to be selected by the Wizards, specifically so his mom could more easily see him play.

“My whole mindset with going to Maryland was so my mom could see me play. A lot of people know I’m close with my mom. She been there throughout my whole journey,” said Ayala, a Wilmington, Delaware, native. “It would be a blessing for her to make that ride down the road like she did at Maryland to come see me play. Wherever I do get placed I’m blessed, but definitely Washington.”

Ayala, along with the other five players at the workout, isn’t an option for the Wizards at No. 10 overall. However, he could be an option for the Wizards in the second round at pick No. 54 or as an undrafted free agent. 

The 6-foot-5 shooting guard was one of the best players in the Big Ten the past two seasons, earning all-conference honorable mention selections in both campaigns. A four-year starter, Ayala scored 1,449 points at Maryland and finished second on the team in scoring last season with 14.7 points per game. 

“This is what you dream of as a kid,” Ayala said about the draft process, adding that it was his first pre-draft workout this spring. “I felt like I shot the ball good today, definitely made some good defensive plays and competed.”

Ayala wasn’t the only former Terrapin at the workout, though, as Darryl Morsell was also in attendance. 

“It was fun. I haven’t gotten to play with him in a year,” Morsell said about working out with Ayala. “Yesterday…I seen him and we had a great embrace, hugged each other. It’s been a while, but it was good to get out there and compete with him today. We made each other better today.”

Morsell, a Baltimore native, played four years at Maryland before transferring to Marquette for his final season. The 6-foot-5 guard totaled 1,090 points with the Terrapins before averaging 13.4 points per game with the Golden Eagles in 2021-22.

Morsell gave similar interest to playing for the Wizards as Ayala did. 

“It would definitely mean a lot,” he said. “I would love to play for the Washington Wizards.”

The other players at the workout were Richmond’s Grant Golden, George Mason’s D’Shawn Schwartz, Florida’s Anthony Duruji and Utah State’s Brandon Horvath. 

• Jacob Calvin Meyer can be reached at jmeyer@washingtontimes.com.

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