Arizona’s Deandre Ayton has been named CBS Sports’ Freshman of the Week.
The 7-0 center averaged 21 points and 14 rebounds on a red-hot 59 percent field goal shooting in wins last week against Texas A&M and Alabama.
Ayton’s big week was topped off by his career high 29 points and 18 rebounds in Arizona’s 88-82 win over Alabama on Saturday.
“He cannot be handled one-on-one,” wrote CBSSports.com’s Matt Norlander. “The man looks unfair on a college basketball floor. He’s currently No. 4 in KenPom’s Player of the Year algorithm. Ayton is top-10 in defensive rebounding percentage, and I’m willing to wager that he’s going to have multiple 30-and-20 games this season.”
On the year, Ayton leads the team in rebounds and is second in scoring, averaging 20.5 points and 11.9 boards for the Wildcats.
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 2017 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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