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Deandre Ayton: Being the No. 1 pick ‘would mean a lot’

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But he’s focused on winning games at Arizona until that time comes

Alabama v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Deandre Ayton is going to be a one-and-done with the Arizona Wildcats.

That much he has been clear about.

But where he will be selected in the 2018 NBA Draft is not quite as clear. Ayton is probably a lock to be a top-five pick, maybe even top-three.

And some outlets — NBADraft.net, Sports Illustrated, etc. — even project the big man will be the No. 1 overall pick.

Arizona has had former players selected as high as No. 2 overall before, but never No. 1. Ayton said Tuesday on SportsCenter that being the top pick “would mean a lot.”

“It shows where all my hard work is going at,” he told Scott Van Pelt. “But first I want to win a lot of games at Arizona then focus on the next level.”

Arizona is 16-4 overall, and 13-1 in its last 14 games. Ayton has not only been one of the top freshmen this season, but one of the top players in the sport as a whole.

The 7-footer is averaging 19 points, 11 rebounds, and roughly 2 blocks per game. Those numbers along with his freakish size and athleticism make him worthy of being the No. 1 pick in June’s draft.

But other guys like Duke’s Marvin Bagley III and Oklahoma’s Trae Young are putting up monster numbers, too — and Ayton is well-aware of that.

“Their progress is everywhere. It’s all around the social media,” he said. “... We’re all competitive at what we do, and we’re doing the best we can to win games for our teams and we just got to keep it going for our team to succeed.”

Van Pelt also asked Ayton what it’s like to play for Sean Miller and ... who sweats more during games.

Here was Ayton’s response:


Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire