Deandre Ayton is poised to be a top pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. While he was phenomenal during his only collegiate season at Arizona, you may not know a whole lot about him.
Here are five things you should know about Ayton as he begins his NBA journey.
He was born in the Bahamas
Ayton was born in Nassau in the Bahamas. For those unaware, Nassau was a notorious pirate haven and home to the Pirate Republic from 1706 until 1718 when governor Woodes Rogers wrested it back for Britain. There are several awesome books about that period in history you should definitely check out.
Ayton will join Buddy Hield as recent lottery picks from the Bahamas.
Had a brief, but historic college career
Despite only spending one season in college, Ayton accomplished a lot in a short time. He averaged 20.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 33.5 minutes per game. He also hit 61.2 percent fo his shots from the field and 34.3 percent from 3-point range.
Ayton won the 2018 Karl Malone Award, given to the best power forward in college basketball, and was just the third player in Pac-12 history to win both Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and Pac-12 Player of the Year. Kevin Love and Shareef Abdur-Rahim were the others. He also set a new Pac-12 record for double-doubles by a freshman with 24. And, obviously, he was a consensus first-team All-American.
He was a musical soccer player when younger
As a 6’5″ 12-year-old Ayton played the tuba and was also a very good soccer player, but was discovered playing basketball that summer. Thus ended his music and soccer dreams.
He was high school teammates with Bagley
Ayton and fellow lottery pick Marvin Bagley III were teammates for one season in high school. Think that squad was any good?
Entering his junior year, Ayton transferred to Hillcrest Prep Academy in Phoenix. The team’s star at the time was Bagley, who was then a sophomore. They played together for one season, where Ayton averaged 29.2 points, 16.7 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game. Bagley transferred before his junior year and Ayton was the team’s sole leader as a senior.
Bagley would later commit to Duke and reclassify, skipping his senior year and putting the two former teammates in the same 2017 recruiting class.
He made Bill Walton lose his mind
Well, what’s left of it anyway. During a game this season, Ayton was so dominant that Bill Walton couldn’t stop gushing about him. Then it got weird…