Deandre Ayton

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Deandre Ayton
20170329 MCDAAG Deandre Ayton on the wing.jpg
No. 22 – Phoenix Suns
PositionCenter / Power forward
Personal information
Born (1998-07-23) July 23, 1998 (age 21)
Nassau, Bahamas
Listed height6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)
Listed weight250 lb (113 kg)
Career information
High school
CollegeArizona (2017–2018)
NBA draft2018 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall
Selected by the Phoenix Suns
Playing career2018–present
Career history
2018–presentPhoenix Suns
Career highlights and awards
Stats at
Stats at

Deandre Edoneille Ayton (born July 23, 1998) is a Bahamian professional basketball player for the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played for the Arizona Wildcats in the Pac-12 Conference in the 2017–18 season and was a consensus five-star prospect in the Class of 2017, as well as a McDonald's All-American.[1] Ayton was selected with the first overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft by the Suns. He was selected to the NBA All-Rookie First Team for the 2018–19 NBA season.

Early life[edit]

Ayton was born in Nassau, Bahamas to Bahamian father Alvin and Jamaican mother Andrea.[2] Ayton was first scouted by an Annual Bahamian basketball magazine called the Bahamian Basketball Yearbook.[3] At the age of 12, Ayton was scouted by the All Bahamian Brand who were visiting Bahamas Academy High School, a tiny private school then located on Wulff Road in Nassau. The scouts came when Ayton, a tuba and soccer player, was at band practice, rather than basketball practice, but were impressed by his 6'5" frame.Ayton moved to San Diego, California to play high school basketball.

High school career[edit]

Ayton attended Balboa City School in San Diego, California and started on the varsity basketball team for two years. As a sophomore in 2014–15, Ayton led Balboa to a 17-14 record, averaging 21 points, 16 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game. He racked up double-doubles in 21 of 22 regular season games. That summer, he averaged 16.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks a game for Supreme Court AAU (California) on the Under Armour circuit. As a standout in his class, he elected to transfer from Balboa City School to explore an opportunity at a Prep Academy.

Ayton, now a junior in 2015–16, transferred to Hillcrest Prep Academy in Phoenix, Arizona to play out his last two years.[4][5][6] During this high school year, he became teammates with another top-tier Class of 2017 player in 2018's #2 pick Marvin Bagley III. Throughout his junior year, Ayton averaged 29.2 points, 16.7 rebounds, 3.8 blocks per game.

As a senior in 2016–17, Ayton led Hillcrest to a 33-6 record and national rankings across multiple outlets while averaging 26 points, 15 rebounds and 3.5 blocks. While representing the World Select team, Ayton played at the 2016 Nike Hoop Summit, chipping in with eight points to go along with seven rebounds.[7]


Ayton was considered the top player in the 2017 recruiting class by, and ESPN.[8][9][10] In 2015, he was ranked by Scout as the top prospect in all of high school in their "Ultimate 100" list.[11] He had narrowed his choices between three schools: Arizona, Kansas and Kentucky. On September 6, 2016, Ayton committed to play for the Arizona Wildcats,[12][13][14] and he signed his letter of intent.

US college sports recruiting information for high school athletes
Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight Commit date
Deandre Ayton
Phoenix, AZ Hillcrest Prep Academy (AZ) 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m) 235 lb (107 kg) Sep 6, 2016 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:5/5 stars   Rivals:5/5 stars   247Sports:5/5 stars    ESPN:5/5 stars   ESPN grade: 97
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 5   Rivals: 3  247Sports: 4  ESPN: 3
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height and weight.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.


  • "Arizona 2017 Basketball Commitments". Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  • "2017 Arizona Basketball Commits". Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  • "2017 Arizona Wildcats Recruiting Class". Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  • " Team Recruiting Rankings". Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  • "2017 Team Ranking". Retrieved September 6, 2016.

College career[edit]

Ayton made his debut with the University of Arizona on November 10, 2017, recording 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 blocks in a 101–67 win over the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks. His 19 points was 7th most for a Freshman in an Arizona debut. Throughout his college career, he was used as a power forward instead of center; Dušan Ristić was Arizona's starting center instead. On December 9, 2017, Ayton recorded what was, at the time, a season-high 29 points and 18 rebounds in an 88–82 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide. On December 30, 2017, against the in-state rival Arizona State Sun Devils, he recorded 19 rebounds, which would be a season-high at the time. On January 20, 2018, against Stanford, he blocked 6 shots, which tied him for most in Arizona Freshman single game history. He had also recorded 17 20-point games and 23 double-doubles through 34 games.[15] However, while Ayton had some great successes during his freshman season, there were also controversies mired during his last few months there.

On February 23, 2018, a reported FBI wiretap revealed Arizona's head coach, Sean Miller, allegedly talked with Christian Dawkins (a key figure involved in the 2017–18 NCAA Division I men's basketball corruption scandal) to discuss paying Ayton $100,000 to allow him to enter the university, with the monetary situation being dealt with directly to him.[16] While Miller would not be coaching the next game a day later against Oregon (assistant coach Lorenzo Romar would replace Miller that night), Ayton would still be allowed to play that day as the starting center. In that game, Ayton would record 28 points, 18 rebounds, and 4 blocks in the overtime loss to Oregon. The wiretapped conversation reportedly occurred in 2016, when Ayton was still attending the Hillcrest Prep Academy.[17][18][19] Later on October 11, 2018, a government official revealed a now-former Adidas consultant named T.J. Gassnola paid a currently unknown amount of money to Ayton's family via Christian Dawkins in order to attend some Adidas sponsored programs.[20] On May 2, 2019, federal prosecutors played a wiretapped call from June 20, 2017 between Dawkins and former assistant coach Emanuel Richardson that Miller was paying Ayton $10,000 per month while enrolled at Arizona.[21]

On March 3, 2018, after their last regular season home game against California, where he'd record 26 points and a career-high 20 rebounds in a 66–54 win over California, head coach Sean Miller honored Ayton, as well as underclassmen Rawle Alkins and Allonzo Trier, with confirmations that they'd all be entering the 2018 NBA Draft at the end of this season.[22] On March 9, Ayton would record a career-high 32 points with 14 rebounds in a 78–67 overtime win against UCLA. He'd tie that career-high for points the next day alongside grabbing 18 rebounds in the Pac-12 Championship game against USC, where the Wildcats won 75–61. Ayton would be named the Pac-12 Tournament's Most Outstanding Player during the event. At the end of the regular season, Ayton was named both the Pac-12's Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, as well as become a member of the All-Pac-12 first team (in terms of both regular voting and voting through the Associated Press) and be named the winner of the Karl Malone Award.[23] He was also voted a consensus first-team All-American. Furthermore, Ayton was one of three freshman to be a part of the All-American First Team, joining Marvin Bagley III and Trae Young for the most consensus freshmen First Team members in a season.

Following Arizona's upset loss to the University at Buffalo in the Round of 64 of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, Ayton announced his intention to forgo his final three seasons of collegiate eligibility and declare for the 2018 NBA draft, where he was expected to be a top-tier lottery selection, if not the potential #1 draft pick.[24] On April 26, 2018, Ayton announced he signed with agent Nima Namakian of BDA Sports.

Professional career[edit]

Phoenix Suns (2018–present)[edit]

On June 21, 2018, the Phoenix Suns selected Ayton with the first overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft. He was the franchise's first No. 1 pick in their history.[25] Never before had the player picked with the first overall selection gone to a team from the state where he played in high school and college before entering the NBA.[26] Ayton joined the 2018 NBA Summer League Suns squad on July 1, 2018, signing his rookie-scale contract five days later.[27][28] In his Summer League debut on July 6, Ayton recorded 10 points and 8 rebounds in a 92–85 win over the Dallas Mavericks. At the end of the event, Ayton averaged a double-double of 14.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in four games played and named a member of the All-Summer League Second Team. He also averaged 18.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1.4 assists, and 0.8 steals per game in five games during the 2018 preseason with the Suns.[29] Near the end of the preseason, he led all NBA players in points, rebounds, blocks, free-throws, and field goal attempts.[30]

Ayton made his NBA debut in the season opener on October 17, 2018 and earned a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, as well as a season-high 6 assists, a steal, and a block with 36 minutes played as a starter in a 121–100 win over the Dallas Mavericks.[31] It made Ayton the first player to record these stats in their debut game since Lew Alcindor in 1969, as well as the third player since Oscar Robertson in 1960.[32] Five days later, Ayton recorded a double-double of 20 points and 14 rebounds (alongside 5 assists) in a 123–103 loss to the Golden State Warriors. On October 27, he recorded 24 points on near-perfect shooting (12/13 shots made) alongside 5 assists in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. He became the second rookie in 40 seasons (first being Adam Keefe) to score at least 12 shots with a 90% or higher field goal percentage.[33] Six days later, Ayton recorded a double-double of 17 points and a season-high 18 rebounds in a 107–98 loss to the Toronto Raptors. Ayton later recorded a new career-high of 33 points, alongside 14 rebounds, in a 122–118 loss to the Denver Nuggets on December 29.[34] Through the first half of the season, Ayton started in every game for the Suns when he was healthy, save for one. On January 29, 2019, Ayton was named a member of the World Team for the Rising Stars Challenge in the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend.[35] On March 27, Ayton broke Alvan Adams' rookie record for most double-doubles recorded by a rookie in franchise history.[32] However, Ayton sprained his left ankle three days later against the Memphis Grizzlies, ending his rookie season early.[36] He became the third rookie in a decade to average a double-double in their rookie season, joining Blake Griffin and Karl-Anthony Towns.[37] At the conclusion of the season, Ayton was named as one of three finalists for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in the 2019 NBA Awards show.[38] On May 21, Ayton was selected to the 2019 All-Rookie First Team.[39]

On October 24, 2019, after the 2019–20 season opener, Ayton was suspended for 25 games after testing positive for a diuretic, violating the league's anti-drug policy.[40]

Player profile[edit]

Ayton is known for being a physically demanding center at 7'1", with a weight of 250 pounds being reported during his rookie season with Phoenix. His wingspan has been projected to be at 7'5",[41] while his vertical leap is slated to be at 43.5".[42] He sees his game as something akin to Hakeem Olajuwon's (primarily with his footwork, which allows him to keep up with smaller players) with the competitive mentality of Kevin Garnett.[43] ESPN analyst Jay Williams compared him to David Robinson and Anthony Davis.[44]

Career statistics[edit]

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high


Regular season[edit]

2018–19 Phoenix 71 70 30.7 .585 .000 .746 10.3 1.8 .9 .9 16.3
Career 71 70 30.7 .585 .000 .746 10.3 1.8 .9 .9 16.3


2017–18 Arizona 35 35 33.5 .612 .343 .733 11.6 1.6 .6 1.9 20.1

Accomplishments and awards[edit]

  • Karl Malone Award (2018)[23]
  • All Pac-12 tournament team (2018)[45]
  • Pac-12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player (2018)[45]
  • NBC Sports First Team All-American (2018)[46]
  • AP Pac-12 Player of the Year (2018)[47]
  • AP Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year (2018)[47]
  • AP Pac-12 First Team All-American (2018)[47]
  • USA Today First Team All-American (2018)[48]
  • Sporting News First Team All-American (2018)[49]
  • Pac-12 Player of the Year (2018)[50]
  • Pac-12 Freshman Player of the Year (2018)[50]
  • All Pac-12 First team (2018)[51]
  • All Pac-12 Freshman team (2018)[51]
  • All Pac-12 Defensive team (2018)[51]
  • USBWA District IX Player of the Year (2018)[52]
  • USBWA District IX All-District team (2018)
  • USBWA First Team All-American (2018)
  • NABC First Team All-American (2018)
  • NABC District 20 First team (2018)
  • AP First Team All-American (2018)
High School
  • All-USA Boys Basketball First Team (2017)
  • Naismith High School Boys All-America first team (2017)
  • Maxpreps High School Boys Basketball All-American third team (2017)

National team career[edit]

Ayton represented The Bahamas in the 2016 Centrobasket, the regional basketball championship of FIBA Americas for the Central American and Caribbean subzone where he averaged a tournament-leading 11.1 rebounds per game.[53]


In June 2018, it was announced he would be sponsored by Puma after the German company announced that they would be returning to the basketball market.[54]

Personal life[edit]

In the days after Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas, Ayton donated $100,000 to various relief efforts and held a relief drive on September 10, 2019 to collect further supplies and donations to give to those affected by the hurricane.[55]


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  16. ^ "Sources: Sean Miller talked payment on wiretap". February 24, 2018.
  17. ^ "Sources cast doubt on reported timeline of Miller-Dawkins call". 247Sports.
  18. ^ "ESPN changes dates in Sean Miller report: Network says phone call was 2016, not 2017". azcentral.
  19. ^ "Sean Miller strikes back at ESPN: Is lawsuit next?".
  20. ^ "Ex-Adidas consultant says he paid Ayton's family". October 10, 2018.
  21. ^ "Assistant: Miller paid $10K per month to Ayton". May 2, 2019. Retrieved May 18, 2019.
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  31. ^ "Booker's late onslaught lifts Suns past Mavs 121-100". October 17, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  32. ^ a b 2018-19 Season Rewind: Deandre Ayton
  33. ^ NBA (October 27, 2018). "Deandre Ayton (24 PTS, 12-13 FGM) joins Adam Keefe (1993) as the only rookies in the last 40 seasons to make at least 12 field goals in a game with a FG% of 90% or higher. #NBARooks".
  34. ^ "Denver Nuggets vs. Phoenix Suns - December 29, 2018".
  35. ^ release, Official. "Doncic, Simmons headline Mtn Dew Ice Rising Stars rosters".
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  42. ^ Kelapire, Ryan (September 25, 2017). "DeAndre Ayton shows off 43.5-inch vertical". Arizona Desert Swarm.
  43. ^ Sidery, Evan (June 7, 2018). "Sense of closure surrounds Deandre Ayton's predraft workout with Suns". Bright Side Of The Sun.
  44. ^ "DeAndre Ayton scouting report: Anthony Davis + Al Horford + David Robinson?". ESPN The Next Level. May 18, 2018 – via YouTube.
  45. ^ a b "Pac-12 Men's Basketball to send trio of teams to 2018 NCAA Tournament".
  46. ^ "The NBC Sports 2018 College Basketball All-American Teams".
  47. ^ a b c "Arizona's Deandre Ayton Earns Pac-12 Player of Year Honors".
  48. ^ "USA TODAY Sports 2017-18 All-America college basketball team".
  49. ^ "Sporting News' 2017-18 college basketball All-Americans".
  50. ^ a b "Arizona's Deandre Ayton's monster season earns him Player and Freshman of the Year honors".
  51. ^ a b c "2017-18 Pac-12 Men's Basketball All-Conference Teams announced".
  53. ^ "Deandre Ayton profile, Centrobasket Championship 2016". FIBA.COM. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  54. ^ DePaula, Nick (June 18, 2018). "Projected No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton signs with Puma". Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  55. ^ Helin, Kurt (September 7, 2019). "Deandre Ayton, Buddy Hield making donations, raising awareness for Bahamas after Dorian". Retrieved September 11, 2019.

External links[edit]