by RENALDO DORSETT
Add another milestone in the career of Bahamian high school basketball phenom DeAndre Ayton.
Ayton received perhaps his highest honour to date when he was named to the roster of the 19th edition of the Nike Hoop Summit.
The 2016 Hoop Summit takes place Saturday April 9th, at noon, hosted at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon.
It will mark the first time the Bahamas will have a representative at the event which features the USA Basketball Junior National Select Team against a World Select Team that is comprised of elite international players who are 19 years old or younger. Other country’s represented on the World Team will include Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Lithuania, Brasil, Australia, Finland, Canada, the Dominican Republic and France. A Nassau native now playing out of Hillcrest Academy in Phoenix, Arizona, Ayton averaged 29.2 points, 16.7 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks this season.
Ayton was also recently named to USA Today’s 2015-16 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Boys Basketball First Team. He was the only junior named to the first teams along side highly touted NCAA bound seniors including Lonzo Ball (UCLA), De’Aron Fox (Kentucky), Jayson Tatum (Duke) and Josh Jackson (Undecided).
Ayton, the versatile seven-foot, 235lb front court player is widely regarded as the top player in high school basketball, irrespective of class, and tops the ESPN 60 list for the class of 2017.
He delivered an historic performance in January with 52 points, 33 rebounds and 10 blocks in his Hillcrest Bruins’ 71-67 win over the Sunrise Academy Buffaloes at the Lawrence Hoop Duel.
Ayton previously attended the Balboa City School in San Diego, California, since he left the Bahamas just over three years ago to complete his education and compete against better basketball talent. Thus far, he has received official offers from Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, Arizona and San Diego State.
The Hoops Summit has garnered a reputation for featuring some of the NBA’s current stars including: Nicolas Batum, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Monta Ellis, Kevin Garnett, Rudy Gay, Kyrie Irving, Al Jefferson, Joe Johnson, Kevin Love, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Derrick Rose, Josh Smith, John Wall and many others.
Since its inaugural edition in 1995, participants in the Nike Hoops Summit have featured 178 NBA draftees including 13 in last year’s NBA draft and 14 in the 2014 draft.
The past three top overall picks in the draft – Anthony Bennett (Canada), Andrew Wiggins (Canada) and Karl-Anthony Towns (Dominican Republic) were all members of the World Select rosters, representing their respective countries.
The past three No. 1 picks have been former World Select Team members, including Karl Towns Jr. (Dominican Republic) in 2015, Andrew Wiggins (Canada) in 2014 and Anthony Bennett (Canada) in 2013. Before that, three U.S. Nike Hoop Summit alumni were drafted No. 1, including Anthony Davis in 2012, Kyrie Irving in 2011 and John Wall in 2010
According to its website www.nikehoopsummit.com – “nine of the game’s alumni have been chosen at No. 1, and 60 players have been selected among the first 10 picks. The first three picks in 2014 were Nike Hoop Summit alumni (Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embid), as well as in 2012 (Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bradley Beal) and in 2008 (Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley and O.J. Mayo). Additionally, five players from the Hoop Summit have gone on to earn NBA Rookie of the Year honors, including Kyrie Irving (2012), Tyreke Evans (2010), Derrick Rose (2009), Kevin Durant (2008) and Elton Brand, who shared the honor in 2000. As of Oct. 21, 2015, a remarkable 78 former U.S. players and 33 former World team members were active in the NBA. Additionally, 31 former Hoop Summit players are currently competing on the collegiate level, including 20 U.S. players and 11 World Team athletes.”