DeAndre Ayton, the top recruit in the class of 2017, according to ESPN, made headlines as he announced his decision to commit to the University of Arizona on SportsCenter.
Ayton, a 7’0″ center from Phoenix, chose the Wildcats over the University of Kentucky and the University of Kansas. He’s the second commitment in the class of 2017, as he’ll join shooting guard Alex Barcello in Tuscon next year. The recruiting cycle is still early, and Arizona has offered plenty of other five star talents including point guard Trevon Duval and small forward Kevin Knox.
Sean Miller is becoming one of the better recruiters in college basketball, having brought in eight top 100 recruits in the last three years. Zona will have one of the best rosters this year and could contend for a national championship in 2016.
As for his game, Ayton fits the mold of a modern NBA big man. He’s a long, mobile and lanky (9’3″ standing reach) impressive athlete (34.5″ vertical) for a guy 240 pounds. Also in his repertoire is a jump shot that extends to the three point line. His game is reminiscent of Myles Turner, who was stellar as a rookie last year for the Indiana Pacers.
Maybe the best part of Ayton’s game is his rebounding skills. It obviously helps when you’re 7′ tall, but Ayton has a knack for reading shots off the rim and is always in good position to make a play on the boards.
Ayton can be frustrating at times because he tends to get too shot happy from the outside, instead of using his strength and size down low to get easy buckets. If he really wants to set himself apart from the other top players in his class, such as Michael Porter Jr, Kevin Knox and Wendell Carter, he’ll have to improve on his posts moves. If he does that between now and his freshman year, he could be a lock for the #1 pick in the 2018 draft.
In his first, and likely only year at Arizona, Coach Miller will likely use Ayton as his featured man. For Team USA (not THAT Team USA), Ayton averaged a double-double, scoring 15. 7 points per game and bringing in 11 rebounds a game.
The senior at Hillcrest Academy is certainly a project and is still a bit more toolsy than actually skilled, but his upside as an all around big man is intriguing.
Cover Photo via ASeaOfBlue.com