Arizona’s superstar freshman Deandre Ayton had a career-high 28 points in the team’s 91-88 OT win over UNLV in Las Vegas.
The 7-0 center also had 10 rebounds and 3 blocks, while shooting 52 percent (12-of-23) from the field.
Junior Allonzo Trier added 29 points in Saturday’s victory.
It was a big win for the Wildcats (5-3), who lost three times at last week’s Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas.
“We just learned our lesson in the Bahamas, but we want to show everybody we ain’t going nowhere,” Ayton told reporters after beating UNLV.
On the season, Ayton is leading the team in rebounding and is second in scoring, averaging 20.4 points and 11.4 boards for the Cats.
ESPN’s No. 3 player in the 2017 high school class, Ayton averaged a whopping 27.9 points, 18.2 rebounds, 3.7 blocks, and 3.3 assists for Hillcrest Prep (AZ) last season as a senior.
Ayton, a native of the Bahamas, averaged 21 points, 16 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks as a sophomore in 2014-15 for Balboa City School in San Diego.
In the summer of 2015 he transferred to Phoenix’s Hillcrest Prep for his junior year, joining then No. 1 sophomore, 6-11 forward Marvin Bagley III (who later reclassified into the 2018 class and is now a star freshman at Duke).
But after averaging 33 points in seven games with Hillcrest earlier that season, Bagley left the school due to negative reports about Hillcrest’s allegedly dubious academics.
Ayton stayed and had a great junior year at Hillcrest, including pouring in a monster 52-point, 33-rebound, 10-block triple double in a 71-67 win over Sunrise Christian (Wichita, Kan.) in January of that year.
Experts have been raving about the gifted Ayton, whom Scout.com ranked as the best high school player period, regardless of class, after only his sophomore season.
“DeAndre Ayton is the best prospect in high school basketball,” said Scout.com’s Evan Daniels. “He’s the type of center talent that you project to the NBA and not just be an NBA player, but a really good NBA player and potentially a future all-star.”
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