'I know I'm going No. 1' - Deandre Ayton confident he'll soon be - Tucson News Now

'I know I'm going No. 1' - Deandre Ayton confident he'll soon be a Phoenix Sun

NBA Draft prospect Deandre Ayton, who may be the Phoenix Suns' choice with the No. 1 overall pick in this month's NBA draft, talks to the media after an individual workout with the Suns, Wednesday, June 6, 2018 in Phoenix. (Source: AP Photo/Matt York) NBA Draft prospect Deandre Ayton, who may be the Phoenix Suns' choice with the No. 1 overall pick in this month's NBA draft, talks to the media after an individual workout with the Suns, Wednesday, June 6, 2018 in Phoenix. (Source: AP Photo/Matt York)
FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2018, file photo, Arizona forward Deandre Ayton (13) shoots in the second half during an NCAA college basketball game against Colorado, in Tucson, Ariz. (Source: AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File) FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2018, file photo, Arizona forward Deandre Ayton (13) shoots in the second half during an NCAA college basketball game against Colorado, in Tucson, Ariz. (Source: AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)
Arizona’s Deandre Ayton, right, shakes hands with the Rev, Jesse Jackson before the NBA basketball draft lottery Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Chicago. (Source: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) Arizona’s Deandre Ayton, right, shakes hands with the Rev, Jesse Jackson before the NBA basketball draft lottery Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Chicago. (Source: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Deandre Ayton spent the morning flashing his skill for the Suns brass and early afternoon flashing his smile for the Suns media. The former University of Arizona star is affable and supremely confident.

“I know I’m going No. 1,” Ayton said after his workout with the Suns Wednesday.

[RELATED: Ayton works out for Suns, says ‘I know I’m going No. 1’]

Still sweating from a high-intensity hourlong effort on the Suns practice court, Ayton reiterated his desire to play in Phoenix, a city he and his family now call their second home. The 7-foot-1-inch native of the Bahamas also reiterated his belief that joining Devin Booker would give the Suns the one-two punch needed to return to the NBA’s elite.

“That’s Shaq and Kobe 2.0,” he said. “We can really make something happen in Phoenix.”

GM Ryan McDonough has been scouting Ayton in person and on film since his days at Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix, but Wednesday’s up-close and personal experience gave McDonough added appreciation for the tantalizing skillset Ayton possesses.

[RELATED: Suns keep #1 pick plans 'close to the vest']

“The way he shot the ball was pretty impressive,” said McDonough. “Not many 7-1 guys with that length and strength can step away from the basket and make shots. He did some of it at Arizona, but that wasn’t his role. You didn’t get to see him on the perimeter. Today he shot the NBA [three-pointer] pretty comfortably. He had really good form, touch, and rotation on the ball. For a guy his size, that was a little bit unique.”

Ayton, who averaged 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds for Arizona last season, said he should be the No. 1 pick because he’s the “best competitor” in the draft.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Phoenix Suns]

“I wouldn’t say I’m the best player,” Ayton said, “but I’m the best competitor. I give my heart on both ends of the floor.”

Ayton likens himself to Kevin Garnett and Hakeem Olajuwon and he’s not alone when it comes to comparisons to two Hall of Fame players. Many feel Ayton is a hybrid of both players and because of that, he won’t get roped into any traditional NBA position. Center? Power forward? Don’t bother asking.

“I’m a basketball player,” said Ayton. “I don’t think there’s anybody like me.”

And he wants to be a Phoenix Sun – now and even before the franchise landed the No. 1 pick in the draft.

[RELATED: Suns already know 3 great candidates for No. 1 pick]

[READ MORE: Suns win NBA Draft Lottery, hold No. 1 pick]

"It's great, it's great. We take that obviously as a compliment," said McDonough of Ayton's desire to play for the Suns. "He has a lot of strong ties to this area. He's been working out here; he's been training here. The fact that he wants to be here, that's great."


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