by RENALDO DORSETT

He missed much of the season due to a lingering foot injury, but it didn’t slow down Bahamian centre DeAndre Ayton from being recognised as one of the top sophomores in America.

The 7’0 feet tall, 225 pound Ayton was named to the MaxPreps 2014-15 Sophomore All-American First-Team.

According to MaxPreps.com, “Selections are based on team success, individual production and local, regional and state honours from the recently completed season.”

On the first-team he will be joined by MaxPrep sophomore of the year James Walker Jr, Jaylen Nowell, Cody Riley and Alex Barcello.

In 22 games of his inaugural season with the Balboa City School Force in San Diego, California. season, Ayton averaged 21.1 points, 16 rebounds and 3.8 blocked shots per game.

With his versatility, he is widely considered one of the best basketball prospects by every recruiting service in America for the Class of 2017 on a fast-track for the National Basketball Association.

Ayton had an eventful summer which saw his stock rise and continued to meet expectations when his regular season continued this fall.

The whirlwind tour for Ayton on the grassroots summer basketball circuit included stops at the Nike Peach Jam, Fab 48 tournament and the Lebron James Skills Academy, but was highlighted right at home during the Bahamas Basketball Federation’s Summer of Thunder.

The 16-year-old finished with 17 points and 18 rebounds to lead the locally-based Providence Storms to a shocking 84-83 win over the then AP No. 19 ranked University of North Carolina Tar Heels.

Ayton opened the season on a scoring binge, leading the Force to a 6-1 record to open the season.

He made his varsity debut at the Bi-National Invitational Tournament in Tiaujana, Mexico when scored a game high 25 points and pulled down 12 rebounds to lead Balboa City to a 92-63 win over Cetys University Greyhounds.

He went on to finish in double doubles in 21 of his 22 games.

Some of his highlights on the season included 33 points and 20 rebounds in an 86-66 win over Hillcrest Academy, 29 points and 21 rebounds in his team’s 64-59 win over Elite 1 Academy, 22 points and 24 rebounds against Stoneridge Prep, 29 points, 21 rebounds and eight blocks in a second matchup against Elite 1 and 24 points, 21 points and eight rebounds against Reno International.

Ayton’s last game was a 30 point, 13 rebound, six block outing, February 7 in a 105-90 win over Hillcrest Academy.

He suffered a leg injury the following day and was unable to complete the remainder of the season.

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