Superstar freshman big man Deandre Ayton poured in 31 points in his Arizona preseason debut, a 91-63 exhibition win over Eastern New Mexico.
The 7-0 center had 10 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal, while shooting a blistering 81 percent (13-of-16) from the field.
“It felt amazing, I finally got to show what I’ve been working on the whole summer,” Ayton told the Arizona Desert Swarm. “[Zona] Coach [Sean] Miller is big on throwing the ball inside to the post. That’s how we get our buckets.”
Coach Miller was extremely impressed with his star freshman’s debut.
“Deandre’s performance speaks for itself,” Miller told the Arizona Daily Star. “We pretty much see that every day. As you guys can see, his intelligence, his hands and his awareness is something you don’t see often for a young big guy like him.”
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 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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