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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Deandre Ayton has ‘phenomenal’ workout with Suns, says ‘I know I’m going No. 1’

Simon Asher
Arizona freshman Deandre Ayton is interviewed in the Arizona locker room in preparation for the NCAA Tournament in Boise, Idaho.

If you ask Deandre Ayton, he’ll tell you he’s certain of being the first overall pick in this summer’s NBA Draft
— not because the Phoenix Suns or anyone else has told him so, but because he feels he’s earned it.

The Suns witnessed first-hand Ayton’s talent and drive as the former Arizona men’s basketball star went through a closed-team workout Wednesday morning in Phoenix.  

Later, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough and Ayton met with Phoenix media members at Talking Stick Resort Arena, where Ayton could very well be sporting purple and orange in the fall.

Arizona's Deandre Ayton looks to score past Cal's Kingsley Okoroh during the Arizona-Cal game on Saturday, March 3 in McKale Center.
Arizona’s Deandre Ayton looks to score past Cal’s Kingsley Okoroh during the Arizona-Cal game on Saturday, March 3 in McKale Center.

During a press conference live streamed via, McDonough told reporters that Ayton’s workout was “phenomenal” and “everything that we expected from Deandre.”

The GM said the Suns put the 7-foot-1, 260-pounder through a wide variety of game situations over the span of an hour. Offensively, Ayton was tested on finishing at the rim, mid-range shooting and NBA three-point shooting. Defensively, he was tasked with guarding pick-and-roll scenarios and showing his footwork. McDonough credited Ayton with doing well in just about every category. 

Related: Ayton dominates despite distractions

Prior to his workout, Ayton spent time getting to know potential teammates Josh Jackson, Devin Booker and Marquese Chriss; the group is even planning on watching the NBA Finals together. 

When the seven-footer stepped to the podium after McDonough concluded his remarks, it became evident that Ayton has himself set on playing for the Suns to begin his NBA career. 

When asked how many other teams he plans to workout for, Ayton quickly shut the door.

“No one else,” the Bahamas native said.

Ayton alluded to having family in Phoenix, his desire to be “Shaq and Kobe 2.0” with Booker and his relationship with Josh Jackson from high school basketball as reasons why he wants to be a Sun. 

Ayton also wasn’t shy about why he’s going to be the No. 1 pick.

“I think I deserve that. I’ve worked hard,” Ayton told reporters. “I won’t say I’m the best player. I won’t say that. I will say on the competitive level, I’m the best competitor.”

The NBA Draft is just two weeks away, and while Phoenix has been tight-lipped on their plans for the top pick, McDonough says the Suns need a center to anchor the team. 

“We think Deandre has that potential,” McDonough said.

As for the Pac-12 Player of the Year, he has no doubt he will be the newest anchor for the Suns come June 21. 

“I know I’m going No. 1,” Ayton said.

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