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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Deandre Ayton wins Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award

Simon Asher
Arizona’s Deandre Ayton shouts at the Arizona bench after a fastbreak dunk. Ayton had 24 points in the game.

Arizona men’s basketball freshman Deandre Ayton was named the Karl Malone Power Forward of Year at the College Basketball Awards show in Los Angeles on April 6. 

The 7-foot-1, 260 pound big man beat out Duke’s Marvin Bagley III, North Carolina’s Luke Maye, Middle Tennessee’s Nick King and South Dakota’s Mike Daum to take home the award. Ayton now adds another award to his impressive résumé that includes First-Team AP All-American, Pac-12 Player of the Year, Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and Pac-12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player. 

“I’m a competitor, I play hard on both ends of the floor. I have a lot of intensity and I try to lead. I know I’m young but I try to lead as much as I can by example,” Ayton said to Karl Malone and ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg after receiving the award. 

In his first and only year with the Wildcats, Ayton recorded one of the most dominant seasons in program history. Ayton averaged of 20.1 points per game, 11.6 rebounds per game and 1.9 blocks per game while shooting over 60 percent from the field and 34.3 percent from 3-point range. 

He also broke the Arizona school record for most double-doubles in a season with 24, a record previously held by Al Fleming. 

Ayton talked to Malone and Greenberg about his most memorable moment of the year and referenced the game against Oregon in Eugene on Feb. 24. That game occured just 24 hours after ESPN published a report citing that UA head coach Sean Miller was reportedly caught on an FBI wiretap arranging a payment of $100,000 to ensure Ayton signed with Arizona. It is a report that both Miller and Ayton have vehemently denied. 

Ayton posted 28 points, 18 rebounds and 4 blocks in an overtime loss to the Ducks. 

“It really brought me and my teammates together and it was us against the world that game,” Ayton said to Malone and Greenberg. 

The Bahamian big was also nominated for the John R. Wooden Player of the Year Award but Villanova’s Jalen Brunson took home that honor. 

However, Ayton has plenty of hardware he can lean on as he exits Arizona and prepares for the upcoming NBA Draft in June. 

Follow Alec White on Twitter

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