by RANDY SMITH
Despite being ranked as the No.1 prospect in the recruiting class of 2017, Bahamian DeAndre Ayton said that there aren’t many schools calling his phone about recruitment. In fact, the seven-foot center said that there has only been one school persistently pursuing him, and he’s a bit miffed as to why all of the other schools that showed interest in the past have seemingly withdrawn that interest.
University of Kentucky (UK) Head Coach John Calipari has been one of the most notable coaches who has shown less interest in Ayton. Along with UK, Duke and almost every other major program outside of Kansas have shown interest in the New Providence native in the past. Ayton revealed on Friday that he’s not sure as to why the interest has dwindled so rapidly, but that he’s going to remain focused on developing his game until it’s time to take that next step.
“Kentucky, I think right now they’re mediocre with me in their interest,” he said following his game at the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) in Brooklyn, New York, two Saturdays ago. “It doesn’t matter to me. Whoever comes, comes. Look into it and figure something out. I really don’t care who isn’t recruiting me, to be honest. I’m just going to stay on top of my game and try to get better.”
Over the last few weeks, there have been rumors that Ayton would elect to go overseas after graduating, opposed to going to college, and there were also a few concerns about his academic status.
However, Ayton said that neither is a legitimate need for concern. “They think I’m not going to college, but I have to go to college. My mom wants me to go to college, and that’s what I’m looking for. (There are) no eligibility concerns, I’m NCAA eligible, so I don’t know what the problem is,” he said.
If it truly is an academic issue, Ayton still has time to improve between now and when his first semester of college would theoretically start. It’s too early to tell if he’s off of either Kentucky or Duke’s recruiting list permanently, but it’s likely that more will break on the situation as the summer draws near.