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Bahamian Deandre Ayton becomes first Arizona Wildcat to be selected No.1 in NBA Draft

Jermaine Wright
College Sports Carib (Basketball)


Bahamian-native Deandre Ayton was selected as the number one pick by the Pheonix Suns in the 2018 NBA Draft a short while ago at the Barclays Center in New York, USA.

He is the second Bahamian to ever get selected with the top pick in the NBA draft and the first from the University of Arizona.

Ayton, who was born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas, is the ninth straight freshman to go No.1.

Michael Thompson, the father of Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson, was the first Bahamian to be selected with the top pick in the NBA Draft 40 years ago when he was picked by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1978 draft.

Ayton follows another Bahamian Buddy Hield (Freeport native), who was drafted No.6 by the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2016 draft. 

Ayton, who turns 20 in July, was outstanding in his one season at Arizona, where he was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year and the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.

He averaged 20.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks, and shooting 61.2 percent from the field. His 24 double-doubles tied for the second-most ever by a freshman in Division I history. 

Ayton won’t have to change his zip code as he stays put having played high school and college ball in the state of Arizona since moving from the Bahamas a few years ago. Most of his family now lives there and the University of Arizona campus is just a couple of hours away from down Interstate 10.

His only pre-draft workout was with the Suns after expressing confidence he will be selected No.1 by the Western Conference franchise. 

The 7 foot 1 inch, 260 pounds versatile center, who developed a solid outside jump shot in his lone NCAA Basketball season, will help the Suns significantly in the frontcourt. It was one of just two teams in the previous 20 seasons to finish last in both offensive and defensive efficiency, joining the historically bad 2011-12 Bobcats (worst win percentage in NBA history, .106).

Ayton is a perfect pick for the struggling Suns – a local player in a needed position with great size, wingspan, athleticism who has a high ceiling and the mindset to be an NBA player.

Ayton is a modern center whose game is similar to that of all-star Joel Embid of the Philadelphia 76ers. 

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Category: Athlete GPS, Bahamas, Basketball, College Sports
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