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Ayton looking to leave a strong legacy at Hillcrest

RANDY SMITH
Guardian Sports Reporter
randy@nasguard.com

Published: Feb 17, 2017

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Bahamian DeAndre Ayton earned the top honor a high school basketball player in the United States of America (USA) could receive last month when he was named a McDonalds All-American.

In a recent interview, Ayton said that he wants his time in high school to be remembered for more than just his participation in the March 29 McDonalds All-American game in Chicago, Illinois, which features the best high school players in the U.S.

The 18-year-old said that he wants to be remembered as one of the best centers in high school ball. Ayton, who signed with the University of Arizona last year, said he also wants to be remembered for putting the Hillcrest Prep Academy Hawks basketball program on the map.

“I hope people will know that one of the best players came through here and that I left my mark with a goal to always be a role model,” Ayton said. “Hillcrest Prep helped me with the competitiveness that I can bring to Arizona, and always knowing to play hard not take plays off, even when you think no one is watching.”

In terms of him competing in the game, Ayton said he wants to put on a show for his family and friends who will be travelling for the game.

“It’s big to be selected,” he said. “To be in among the names up there with guys like Michael Jordan is

amazing. I want to go out there and have fun and for us to represent the West as best as we can as a team. I just want to enjoy myself. I don’t want it to go by too fast and not rush anything.”

Ayton has been ranked as the No. 1 player in high school in the U.S., but some scouting boards now have Nathan Hale forward Michael Porter Jr. as the No. 1 high school player in the states.

Ayton, who admitted to being concerned about scouting reports in the past, said he hasn’t paid much attention to the rakings lately. The 7’1” center said that he has been solely focused on improving himself before he makes the leap to play collegiate basketball in the fall.

“I got used to it,” he said of being ranked No. 1 in the past. “I just know I have a big chip on my shoulder at all times. People are always going to come at me and I just need to be humble. Anyone could shift on you. One day they love you, one day they hate you. I just have to be neutral and stay grounded.”

Ayton remains the highest ranked player ever to commit to Arizona, and according to the high school post player, it’s a decision he hasn’t regretted at all.

 


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