The No. 1 basketball recruit in the 2017 class is off the board, as DeAndre Ayton has offered up a verbal commitment to play for the Arizona Wildcats.
Ayton made his decision while appearing on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Tuesday. He was down to Kansas, Kentucky and Arizona.
“Arizona is home,” Ayton said. “My family and I can benefit from them coming to my games and coach (Joe) Pasternack and Sean Miller, we really trust those guys and we trust their program. I know that they can help me get to the next level.”
While Kansas had long been considered the frontrunner, Sean Miller and the Wildcats were the sleeper as the home team in this race.
Miller and his staff recruited Ayton hard in spite of rumors that he may never play a college game, as some think he may never be eligible to play or play overseas.
However, Ayton told ESPN that he was definitely going to college and not play overseas—which is something that burned Miller before in regards to the recruitment of Terrance Ferguson.
That talk is just conjecture though, and if Ayton does in fact take the court next fall, the Wildcats will be getting an immensely talented player. With off-the-charts athleticism and great low-post moves, Ayton is a force on both ends of the floor.
There is a strong likelihood that Ayton won’t be long for college either way, as many project him to be a future lottery pick when he is eligible to enter the NBA draft.
Ayton, a 7-foot, 235-pound agile power forward/center from the Bahamas but who preps at Hillcrest Hoops in Phoenix, Arizona is universally rated as a 5-star recruit and the No. 1 player in the country, as 247Sports currently ranks him.
He chose the Wildcats while also possessing offers from Arizona State, Duke, Maryland, New Mexico State and San Diego State as well.
Ayton will join 4-star point guard Alex Barcello, another Arizona high school star, in Miller’s early-yet-outstanding 2017 recruiting class.