Local hoops fans have heard countless stories about the dominance of DeAndre Ayton on the court and his tremendous skill set, but few have actually been afforded an opportunity to see the 7-foot-1 New Providence native in action. Well, that’s about to change.
On Wednesday, organizers of the highly acclaimed Grind Session Basketball League announced that Ayton would make his homecoming to The Bahamas when Hillcrest Prep out of Phoenix, Arizona, takes part in the Sand Between Your Toes Showcase. The event is scheduled for November 17-18 at Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium.
Although the match-ups for the tournament have not been announced as yet, organizers confirmed that the field of teams includes Conrad Academy (Orlando, Florida), Victory Rock (Bradenton, Florida), Prolific Prep (Napa, California), Prolific Prep North (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) and another team to be announced. Ayton is the No. 1 ranked player in the Class of 2017 and recently shocked the collegiate and grassroots basketball scene when he announced his commitment to Arizona over then favorites Kentucky and Kansas to play his collegiate basketball.
He moved from The Bahamas to San Diego and then to Phoenix. Ayton is the highest-rated player ever to commit to Arizona, and according to the high school post player, it’s a decision he hasn’t regretted at all.
“I’m glad I committed to U of A, man… so glad. If I had committed to the others, I think I would have been mad, because I didn’t want to leave my family,” said Ayton in an interview with tucson.com. “With a coach like Coach Miller (Sean Miller), we can make history. I really intend to give him his first final four (NCAA Final Four appearance). I think I can really change the college game.”
At numerous tournaments this summer, including Nike’s Peach Jam and the Adidas Nations, Ayton dominated the competition as he stood head and shoulders above the other top ranked prospects in his class and the Class of 2018.
Ayton helped California Supreme reach the semi-finals of the Peach Jam tournament, averaging 19.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks over a 16-game Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) season. Then, Ayton led Team Harden with 13 points and 14 rebounds in a 123-96 win against Team Canada in the championship game at the Adidas Nations in early August in Garden Grove, California.