Arizona’s first-round NCAA Tournament upset at the hands of Buffalo — it a surprisingly easy win for the Bulls — screwed up a lot of people’s brackets.
However, it led to one thing that was expected — Arizona big man DeAndre Ayton saying he would enter the NBA Draft.
There was no suspense here, and there was no reason for him to toy with the emotions of Wildcat faithful doing the usual “I need to get together with my family and talk over what’s best for my future” routine. We all knew the outcome, good on him for being up front about it.
Ayton is an incredibly skilled and athletic 7-footer who has scouts drooling and thinking he can have an Anthony Davis/Karl-Anthony Towns level impact on the NBA. He averaged 20.3 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game and was named the Pac 12 Player of the Year and also made the conference’s All-Defensive Team. Ayton has the skills to be a franchise cornerstone player — he can score inside and is strong, but is also incredibly mobile and has a face-up game, plus can step out and drain threes (36.4 percent this season). He is active on the glass and is a solid rim protector on defense. There were questions about his effort and commitment coming into the season, but Ayton answered them.
He is expected to be the top pick in a draft with some outstanding players at the top.
Ayton’s teammate, junior guard Allonzo Trier, also said he would enter the draft. Trier is considered a second-rounder (if drafted at all).