Bahamian basketball phenom DeAndre Ayton was last night voted by coaches as the Pacific 12 (Pac- 12) Conference Player of the Year as well as the Freshman of the Year.
Ayton, who is projected by many to be the No.1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft, was also named to the All-Conference 1st Team, All-Conference Freshman Team, and the All-Conference defensive team.
These accolades are a testimony to his dominance throughout this season, especially in conference play.
The Nassau, Bahamas native is held in very high regard by coaches and media and is a top candidate for the National Player of the Year award, which his compatriot Buddy Hield won in 2016.
The 7’1” 250 lbs forward has been excellent in his first season at the collegiate level.
The 20-year-old leads the conference in rebounding (8th in the country) with 11.4 per game and 2nd in points per game at 19.9 pts.
If he finishes the season with these averages he would break Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love’s Pac- 12 freshman record of 10.9 and would crack the top 5 in PPG for a freshman in league history.
— Arizona Basketball (@APlayersProgram) March 6, 2018
He is also on pace to be the only player from the Pac- 12 in the past 25 years to average more than 19 points and 11 rebounds per game.
With his freshman leading (in the entire NCAA) 21 double-doubles, he is just two shy of breaking another of Love’s PAC 12 records.
His 1.9 blocks per game ranks No.3 in the conference, with his total of 59 during conference play tied for 7th most by a freshman in conference history.
Ayton has more than lived up to the hype after being ranked the No.1 prospect in the country during his final two years at high school.
His commitment to the No.19 ranked Wildcats was greeted with much fanfare and while the team endured some rocky stretches, they finished the season as the Pac-12 regular season champions, going 14-4 in conference play with an overall record of 24-7.
The Wildcats will be hoping to capture the Pac-12 tournament title this weekend, as they begin their quest in the quarterfinal round of the conference on Thursday.
They will then find out on Selection Sunday what their path during the 2018 NCAA Division 1 Basketball tournament (March Madness) will be as they seek a Final Four berth for the storied program.