Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats recruit Ayton battles fellow 5-star center in Florida event

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Arizona’s 7’1″ and 245-pound recruit DeAndre Ayton may have won the battle Sunday against fellow 5-star post player Mo Bamba with more impressive numbers overall.

But Bamba, undecided with his college choice, and his prep team that includes Arizona signee, guard Brandon Randolph, won the game at the City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers, Fla.

West Chester (Pa.) Westtown School defeated Ayton’s Phoenix Hillcrest Prep team 53-42 despite Ayton’s 13 points and 13 rebounds. Randolph finished with 13 points for Westtown.

Ayton, the consensus No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2017, made only 4 of 17 from the field, however. And most of those shots were from outside the lane. He finished with 11 rebounds.

Bamba, generally ranked among the top five prospects in the same class, finished with six points, five rebounds and three blocked shots.

Ayton is now 0-2 against Bamba. They played in the NIKE EYBL event in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Bamba’s team won that game in April.

Check out Randolph’s handles and athleticism at the 1:15 mark of this video:

“I knew that going into this game, it was another Super Bowl of mine,” Bamba was quoted as saying by USA Today. “I played against DeAndre in the first game of the EYBL and it was big for me and it was the same mentality coming into this game.”

Bamba had 13 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks to Ayton’s seven points, five rebounds and three assists in the first meeting.

“He was very physical, but I’m pretty edgy this year,” Bamba said. “I know I bring out the best in him, but he brings out the best in me. Every single time I play him, it’s special for me. … The outcome was great. We won.”

Bamba’s choices are down to Texas, Michigan, Harvard, Kentucky and Duke.

“We were just competing, man,” Ayton was quoted as saying by the Fort Myers New-Press.

“(Bamba) didn’t get the ball much.”

Ayton has signed a national letter of intent with Arizona. It has been insinuated by recruiting guru Jerry Meyer of 247Sports that Ayton may skip college and play professionally overseas because of his earning power and questions about the academic legitimacy of Hillcrest.

Perhaps in answer to that, Ayton posted this tweet recently:

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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