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Deandre Ayton officially introduced by Suns, and here are the highlights

Ayton is back in Arizona, and he’s going to be here for a while

Less than 24 hours after selecting Arizona Wildcats big man Deandre Ayton with the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns introduced their prized rookie — and the rest of their draft class — to the local media Friday.

The entire press conference can be found at the end of the article, but here were Ayton’s highlights...

Ayton on having his name called as the No. 1 pick...

“It was mind-blowing. It was a dream come true. I was starstruck. To see the reaction on my parents’ faces was priceless. As I got to the podium and shook the commissioner’s hand, I just took it all in. I was very emotional, but I tried to keep it professional until I got off the stage, but it was a blessing. I’m very happy to be with the Phoenix Suns.”

Ayton on the sky-high expectations that come with being the No. 1 pick...

“I embrace it a lot. Through my career, I’ve always had that chip on my shoulder. When it comes to expectations, I’m representing a whole nation and I try to be the best player I can. The only thing I can possibly do is really just help this team start a winning legacy here, and be the best teammate I as possible, and try to be the best two-way player.”

Suns general manager Ryan McDonough on the decision to take Ayton...

“He’s a guy we’ve scouted heavily, we’ve watched from his time at Hillcrest, and here at the U of A. We scouted his games, practices, all that. He came in and blew us away in his workout and interview, and we did his medical testing and it all lined up. He was always the frontrunner and by the end of last week, we were comfortable he was the guy unless somebody blew us away with a trade. That didn’t happen so we called in the pick at No. 1.”

McDonough on Ayton’s solo workout with the team...

“We didn’t want to cut it short because we wanted to see what kind of shape he was in. That’s a little bit of misconception about the 1-on-0 workouts. I think players who haven’t done it and representatives sometimes think it’s going to be easier than a 6-man workout. Personally, I think it’s harder. And I get it eliminates the injury risk and all that, but you don’t get a break. As Deandre will tell you, we put him through the ringer and put him in a lot of different situations that were designed to fatigue him a little bit, designed to push him, because we wanted to see how he’d respond. He responded extremely well.”

Ayton on his fit with the new rookies and the Suns’ existing core, which includes Devin Booker and Josh Jackson...

“We’re young. We’re very hungry. And I think with great team chemistry and the work ethic that we have, especially us guys coming in, we’re going to bring it to the next level. We’ve got young legs. We can run all day. You just have to have great chemistry on and off the court and be the best teammates we can. We can make history. We can really start a winning legacy.”

Ayton on his goals entering the NBA...

“Coming in I want to set the tone. I know I’m coming in as a rookie, but that doesn’t mean I don’t mean business on the floor as well. I’m just going to come in and respect all the guys that’s been there before me, hear what they have to say, show me the ropes, the tricks of the trade, and how this game works. That’s how chemistry and respect builds up as a team, and we just start winning games from there.”

More from Ayton on his NBA aspirations...

“You want to be a great person and you want to be a great person to the community and on the court, you want to be dominant as well. Once you’re in between those lines, it’s all business. Like I said, we’re a young team. We all have the same work ethic. … We just have to bring our work ethic to the next level, because this is a grown man’s game. We just really have to buy into what these guys who came before us are saying to help us, because they’re going to help us.”

Suns draft pick and former Colorado guard George King when asked what the scouting report is against Ayton…

“Try your best.” (laughs)

Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov on using Ayton’s strengths in a league that is dominated by small-ball...

“I think it’s something that it’s obvious that he’s one of the unique talents that we haven’t seen for a decade. We’re very happy and excited to have him. For me as coach, good players always inspire you as a coach. As a young player… you come with energy, you bring the energy. You’re always in the best shape and you know the playbook. That’s how you make a team.

“I think he’s going to one of the elite defenders in this league. He can match everything that other big guys can do right now in the league when it comes to the defensive part of the game, which is being a great rim-protector, covering all the parts of the defense that comes with protecting the paint, and running the floor well, being very vocal. That’s a talent. Communication on the floor is part of his talent and he can do even more. His talent and potential and productivity now is even higher than some elite defenders in this league, so he can do both. I think that versatility makes us more excited about his presence here, that he can play both sides of the floor.”

Kokoskov on creating a relationship with Arizona head coach Sean Miller...

“Generally speaking as a staff and for myself, we’re always open to learn more about the game of basketball and about a player. That’s going to happen. Coach is going to be invited to be part of training camp. Deandre was saying (Miller) was a big part of his development process and he’s got a lot of respect for him, and we’ve got a lot of respect for that. The door is going to be open and he’s more than welcome to join us in meetings and practices and I’m going to get in touch with (Miller) and make him always feel welcome.”

Ayton on what the last 24 hours have been like...

“I didn’t sleep. I got a little nap on the plane on the way here, but it’s been crazy. Since I landed in New York, it’s been busy. The media has been crazy as well, but I got used to it and now I know this is part of my life and I have to get used to it if I want to do it. It’s just really a blessing because I can remember it like yesterday I’m back at home just being a kid. Now I’m here in front of all you people, just waiting to play the game of basketball the best way I can.”

Ayton on Joel Embiid saying he doesn’t play defense. (click here for context)

“I have no comment on that one.”

What jersey number is Ayton going to wear?

“I’m probably going to wear No. 22.”

The reason?

“That’s the only number I can think of right now that’s probably available.”

Ayton on former teammates Rawle Alkins and Allonzo Trier going undrafted...

“I know Allonzo and Rawle would love to be drafted, but stuff happens. I think they’re going to get picked up by some team, and once they’re in the league, they’re two hard workers, those guys are great guys off the court, and they’re going to be great teammates as well. So wherever those two guys go, they’re going to be great.”

We're LIVE for our introductory press conference! #TimeToRise

Posted by Phoenix Suns on Friday, June 22, 2018