DeAndre Ayton is a special player, blessed with physical gifts and immense talent. Rewind 11 months ago when DeAndre Ayton was a completely raw prospect who was slowly finding his confidence and feel for the game. Playing for Team Bibby at the time, the 6’10 big man did most of his damage on the defensive end, grabbing boards and easily blocking the shots of players a foot shorter than him. The potential was evident, but if anyone said they saw him developing as quickly as DeAndre Ayton has, they would be lying.
This weekend in Salt Lake City DeAndre Ayton turned in an absolutely amazing performance. The X Factor Invitational was the stage for Ayton’s coming out party. Playing for GSB, the 6’10 native of the Bahamas got off to a fast start throwing down two straight dunks 45 minutes after his plane landed in Utah. While the eye popping dunks catch your attention, it’s only part of what makes DeAndre the #1 player in the class of 2017.
Gregory Strickling Basketball’s star player is willing to do the dirty work and runs the floor like a guard. He hits the boards extremely hard, has a motor that won’t quit, and uses his ridiculous wing span to influence every shot in the painted area. As if his athleticism and size weren’t enough, throughout the weekend the Balboa Prep star stepped out and consistently knocked down mid range jumpers (shooting over 50% from outside the paint on the weekend). Armed with huge paws and a great frame, Ayton is extremely strong with the ball in his hands and very rarely lost the rock despite being mobbed by defenders all weekend.
The improvement that DeAndre has shown in less than a year is alarming and he is now firmly in control of the #1 ranking in the class of 2017. If the supremely talented 8th grader was part of the 2016 class it would be hard to place him outside of the top 3. While Ayton hasn’t shown much of a back to the basket game, he is working with Shaun “Ice” Manning, the man behind one time #1 player in the country and current Atlanta Hawks big man Jeremy Tyler. Under the tutelage of Manning, DeAndre’s game will only continue to develop. If the the improvement in the 6’10 man child’s game over the last 12 months is any indication of what’s to come, the future looks very bright for DeAndre Ayton.