Let’s just get right to it.
Arizona coach Sean Miller wasn’t messing around when talking about signee DeAndre Ayton.
“He’s one of these once-in-a-generation type players,” Miller said.
Hard to argue.
Ayton — rated the No. 1 prospect in the country by most recruiting services — is the centerpiece to a four-man recruiting class (with room to grow) that will be one of the best in the country. Ayton is 7-feet tall, up to about 250 pounds, and still seems to merely be scratching the surface.
“The fact that he hasn’t lifted weights is astonishing to me,” Miller said.
“When you look at him, when you shake his hand, he has a physical presence as a young person that you don’t often times see. I’m really excited to get him, plug him into our strength and conditioning program, and I think his body will continue to develop and change in a big, big way.”
Ayton was born in the Bahamas and lived in San Diego before his family moved to Phoenix before his junior year in high school. He will be playing for a second season at Hillcrest Academy in Phoenix.
Miller said that Ayton is doing well academically, which can be a concern with players from prep schools. The other question has been whether Ayton could resist professional offers instead of going to college.
Miller was emphatic.
“He is going to go to college,” coach said.
The physical skills are undeniable and obvious, but Miller also said he loves Ayton’s intangibles.
“The thing that is striking about DeAndre as a player is he is really smart,” Miller said. “He has the know-how of how to play with four other players that not a lot of big guys have.
“A 7-footer, sometimes those guys play the game because they’re tall. He loves the game. I mean, he’s obsessed with being a great player.”
Arizona’s recruiting class
National rankings from 247Sports, Rivals.com, Scout.com, ESPN and the 247Sports Composite, which weights the rankings from several major recruiting services.
Click on the other recruits’ names for their recruiting profile:
Straight from Miller
Sean Miller on signee Deandre Ayton… pic.twitter.com/Jog52RdMzZ
‘Our’ scout says …
Friend of the site Matt Moreno, who runs goazcats.com on the Rivals network, said this about Ayton:
“DeAndre is going to be the guy they build around next year, regardless of who is on the roster. He is going to be the guy. He is a little bit versatile. He’s not as versatile a player as Lauri (Markkanen), but he’s someone who can shoot the ball, play in transition, play in the post, rebounds well and make dunks. … Potentially in the future, a No. 1 pick.”