DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 ranked basketball recruit in the class of 2017 , verbally committed to Arizona on Tuesday night.
Ayton, who attends Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix, made his pledge to Sean Miller’s program on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” In doing so, Ayton becomes the first top-ranked recruit of Sean Miller’s career.
As for Ayton, he’s a 7-foot Bahamian big man that has No.-1-overall-in-the-NBA-Draft talent. He’s also got an interesting backstory, and really, an ongoing side story. There are still questions from some in college basketball if Ayton will even qualify to play at the NCAA level. Speculation and cynicism over this issue was so prominent, many schools did not even bother recruiting Ayton, while others, like Kentucky, came late to the table.
For something like that to happen to the No. 1 recruit in his class, it’s obviously unusual. But when Ayton spoke to reporters at the Nike-sponsored Peach Jam summer basketball event in July, he maintained that he wanted to play college basketball and he was told he was “on track” to do so. This commitment, at the very least, backs up Ayton’s assertions.
In terms of his skill, Ayton is highly regarded because there have been so few players to similar to him over the past 10 years. He’s very long, very strong, has touch from mid-range and has a good passing eye for a center. He’s got a skill set that is moldable. He could be a modern big, a center with range and dynamism — making him one of the most intriguing prospects in recent years — or he could develop into a true low-post force, if that’s where he wants to take his game. He’s an elite defender as well.
Ayton’s commitment to Zona will almost definitely ensure Miller winds up with a top-five class in 2017. U of A was No. 38 heading into the day on 247’s composite, but the Wildcats will make a big jump with Ayton’s commitment.
Source: CBS Sports / DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 player in the 2017 recruiting class, commits to Arizona