Pronounced uh-BYE-uh-mee ee-zhee-OH-luh
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State head coach Jerome Tang continued the process of building his first team on Friday morning (June 24) with the signing of graduate transfer Abayomi “Baybe” Iyiola (Ibadan, Nigeria/ Greenforest-McCalep Christian Academy (Ga.)/Stetson/Arkansas/Hofstra) to a Financial Aid Agreement with the program for the 2022-23 season.
Iyiola is the seventh player to sign with the Wildcats since Tang was introduced as the program’s head coach on March 21, including the fifth Division I transfer following Cam Carter (Mississippi State), Jerrell Colbert (LSU), David N’Guessan (Virginia Tech) and Desi Sills (Arkansas/Arkansas State). Overall, Iyiola is the eighth newcomer added to the team for the 2022-23 season.
A 6-foot-10, 215-pound center, Iyiola arrives at K-State after playing the 2021-22 season at Hofstra, where he saw action in 28 games with 25 starts. He helped the Pride win 21 games, including 13 in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play, while leading the team in both field goal percentage (63.2) and rebounding (7.1 rpg.). Among his 4 double-doubles was an 18-point, 14-rebound effort in a win over No. 24 Arkansas on December 18, 2021.
Iyiola also has experience playing at both Stetson (2017-19) and Arkansas (2019-21), although he played in just one game as a Razorback due to injury. At Stetson, he was a member of the 2018 Atlantic Sun (ASUN) All-Freshman Team, leading the team and ranking eighth in the league in rebounding (6.2 rpg.). He would play in 63 games with 39 starts as a Hatter, averaging 10.4 points on 50.1 percent shooting with 6.9 rebounds in 21 minutes per game.
Overall, Iyiola has logged 92 games of experience at the Division I level, including 64 starts, while totaling nearly 2,000 minutes played for a 20.5 per game average.
“Baybe is another great addition to our team and exactly the type of player we are looking to attract to K-State,” said Tang. “We needed experience and more depth in the low post, and he gives us both. He has seen significant action in college, including playing major minutes in his first two seasons at Stetson. He really rebounded from injury (at Arkansas) to have a solid year at Hofstra. He is a talented player with 16 double-doubles to his credit.”
“Most of all, Baybe continues our emphasis on guys who are winners. He won two state championships in high school, was part of a special team at Arkansas along with Desi (Sills) and won 21 games a year ago at Hofstra. He knows what it takes to be successful. We are excited to get him here and introduce him to Wildcat Nation!”
Iyiola will have one year of eligibility remaining after the NCAA granted Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 sport student-athletes an additional year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He recently completed his bachelor’s degree in management from Hofstra in May 2022.
Iyiola has scored nearly 900 points in his college career, totaling 856 points (9.3 ppg.) in his 92 games played on 52.6 percent (358-of-680) shooting, while knocking down 72 percent (139-of-193) from the free throw line. He has 40 career double-digit scoring games, including 14 games of 15 or more points and three 20-point games, and 16 double-doubles (points/rebounds). In addition, he has collected 635 rebounds (6.9 rpg.), 34 assists (0.4 apg.), 67 steals (0.7 spg.) and 75 blocks (0.8 bpg.) in 1,888 minutes (20.5 mpg.) in his career.
This past season, Iyiola played in 28 of a possible 32 games, including 25 starts, for Hofstra, averaging 7.1 points on a team-best 63.2 percent (84-of-133) shooting with a team-high 7.1 rebounds in 20.1 minutes per game. He also connected on 76.2 percent (32-of-42) from the free throw line. He ranked fifth in the CAA in rebounding, while he was second in offensive rebounds (3.00), 11th in defensive rebounds (4.14) and 12th in blocked shots (0.6 bpg.).
Iyiola scored in double figures in seven games for the Pride, including a season-high of 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting in the win at Arkansas on December 18, 2021. He also registered 4 double-doubles and secured double-digit rebounds 8 times. He grabbed a season-high 15 rebounds (to go with 15 points) in a win at James Madison on January 9 to cap a stretch of five consecutive games with double-digit rebounds.
Iyiola played in all 18 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) games with 17 starts in 2021-22, averaging 6.2 points on 59.5 percent (44-of-74) shooting with a team-best 6.6 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game. He ranked seventh in the league in rebounding, fourth in offensive rebounds (2.89) and 10th in blocks (0.7 bpg.).
Prior to Hofstra, Iyiola spent two seasons (2019-21) at Arkansas playing for head coach Eric Musselman. After sitting out the 2019-20 season due to NCAA transfer rules, he played in just one game for the Razorbacks due to knee surgery. He did not start practicing with the team until December 26, 2020, as he dressed for his first game against Florida on February 16, 2021, before grabbing a rebound in 2 minutes at South Carolina on March 2, 2021.
Iyiola played alongside recent addition Desi Sills in both seasons at Arkansas, where the pair helped the Razorbacks win 45 games and advance to the Elite Eight in 2020-21.
Iyiola started his college career at Stetson University in Deland, Florida, where he averaged 10.4 points (656 total) on 50.1 percent (274-of-547) shooting with 6.9 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 0.9 blocks in 21.0 minutes per game while playing in 63 games with 39 starts from 2017-19. He scored in double figures in 33 career games, including registering three 20-point games, with 12 double-doubles. His best scoring effort as a Hatter came at South Florida on November 28, 2018, as he poured in a career-best 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting in 27 minutes.
Iyiola was named to the Atlantic Sun Conference (ASUN) All-Freshman Team in 2017-18, as he averaged 10.1 points on 51.9 percent (139-of-268) shooting with a team-leading 6.2 rebounds in 19.2 minutes per game. He ranked seventh in the ASUN in field goal percentage and eighth in rebounding. His scoring average ranked third on the team, while his 322 total points placed seventh among Stetson freshmen all-time. In all, he played in all 32 games with 8 starts, scoring in double figures 18 times and registering 4 double-doubles. He posted a double-double in his first collegiate game with 21 points and 13 rebounds vs. Webber on November 10, 2017.
His best season at Stetson came as a sophomore in 2018-19, in which he led the Hatters in scoring (10.8 ppg.), rebounding (7.6 rpg.) and blocked shots (1.2 bpg.) while starting all 31 games. He ranked fourth in the ASUN in rebounding, while he was second offensive rebounds (2.74) and fifth in blocks. He posted 8 double-doubles, while scoring in double figures 15 times and reaching double-digit in rebounds 10 times. In addition to his career-high 26 points at South Florida, he posted 22 points and 11 rebounds at Western Illinois on December 5, 2018.
Following the 2018-19 season, Iyiola followed his head coach Corey Williams to Arkansas.
The Nigerian national played for Greenforest-McCalep Christian Academy in Decatur, Georgia, guiding the Eagles to a 57-7 overall record and back-to-back Class A Private School State Championships. As a senior in 2016-17, he averaged a nearly double-double with 10.2 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game for a Greenforest squad that won 27 games and won their four playoff games by average of nearly 30 points per game.
Iyiola joins a signing class that already includes five fellow transfers in 6-foot-3, 185-pound combo guard Cam Carter (Donaldsonville, La./Oak Hill Academy [Va.]/Mississippi State), 6-foot-10, 216-pound center Jerrell Colbert (Houston, Texas/Houston [Tenn.]/LSU), 6-foot-8, 195-pound small forward Nae’Qwan Tomlin (New York City, N.Y./Urban Assembly School/Chipola [Fla.] College), 6-foot-9, 205-pound power forward David N’Guessan (De Lier, The Netherlands/Mt. Zion Prep/Virginia Tech) and 6-foot-2, 200-pound combo guard Desi Sills (Jonesboro, Ark./Jonesboro/Arkansas/Arkansas State)
The class also includes a pair of high school standouts in 6-foot-5, 175-pound combo guard Dorian Finister (New Orleans, La./Carver) and 6-foot-8, 215-pound power forward Taj Manning (Grandview, Mo./La Lumiere School [Ind.]). Manning signed with the previous coaching staff during the Fall 2021 Signing Period and reconfirmed his commitment to attend K-State for the 2022-23 season.
Season tickets for the 2022-23 home schedule at Bramlage Coliseum are currently on sale.