Fall 2021 SS Magazine

Arizona's DeAndre Ayton says it's 'God's Plan' in declaring for NBA Draft

Arizona Wildcats forward DeAndre Ayton is going to the NBA.

“I’m so blessed for the opportunity I had at Arizona, and I’m excited to announce I will be entering the 2018 NBA Draft!” Ayton wrote on Twitter.

Ayton had a terrific freshman campaign averaging 20.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. He helped lead Arizona to a 27-8 record and the Pac-12 Conference and tournament titles. He was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year and also the Freshman of the Year.

“I’m just a kid from the Bahamas who came to the States when I was 12 years old with a dream. I can’t say anything about this journey other than it’s God’s Plan. Next Stop: 2018 NBA Draft,” Ayton wrote.

Scouts compare Ayton to versatile NBA bigs like Karl-Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis. They like his soft hands in the post, which allow him to finish well around the basket. When he’s not using his 43.5-inch vertical jump to dunk over helpless defenders, he can step out to the perimeter and knock down mid-range jumpers.

“I’m not a regular big man,” Ayton told Sporting News. “I’m a mobile big man. I’m not trying to be big, like 270. I like it the way I am: pretty mobile and running the floor.”

Born in the Bahamas, Ayton grew up playing soccer. Now he’s on track to be one of the top picks in the upcoming NBA Draft.

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