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Ayton dominates as Arizona gets by UCLA in OT

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When you list out what Arizona has gone through this season, it’s pretty remarkable.

An assistant coach arrested. A preseason broken foot for one of its best players. The fall from No. 2 to out of the rankings after a three-game losing streak. A(nother) failed drug test for a star. The head coach alleged to be on a wiretap talking about a six-figure payment to secure a player. A federal probe ever-present.

It’s a striking list, isn’t it?

Chaos has been the constant for the Wildcats. Well, chaos and Deandre Ayton being awesome.

The Arizona big man put up another monster performance, posting 32 points and 14 rebounds, on Friday as the Wildcats outlasted UCLA in overtime, 78-67, to advance to Saturday’s Pac-12 tournament title game.

Jalen Brunson or Trae Young might be your pick to be national player of the year, but Ayton is a singular force in the game. He’s clearly the best NBA draft prospect in college – given we really haven’t seen Michael Porter, Jr. but for one game.

It’s hard to call Ayton underrated or undervalued given he’s at the top of most draft boards, a consensus All-American and the best player on a top-20 team, but it just seems like the level of excitement about him and for him by the sport at large is muted when compared to his outsized frame and game.

He’s averaging 19.6 points, 11.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game while shooting 62.7 percent on 2-pointers and a respectable 34.4 percent on 32 3-point attempts. And he’s doing it all as 19-year-old with David Robinson’s physique. He moves as well as any player of his size that I can remember.

Whether it’s that he’s playing on the west coast, a conference that is “power” in name only or often on a network that seems more myth than reality, Ayton seems to have flown under the radar a bit, or at least as much as a 7-foot-1 beast can.

Maybe it’s just because there’s been so dang much other stuff to talk about when it comes to Arizona. Talking about a dominant big man is fun, but it’s not as interesting as a coach getting arrested, a failed PED test or a freaking federal wiretap.

There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to Arizona. I mean, look at that list. Just don’t forget to make sure Ayton is on it, too. At the top.

Under Armour Association Finals day one highlights (VIDEO)

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One week after the Nike and adidas grassroots circuits had their championship events, Under Armour is doing the same just outside of Atlanta at the UA Association Finals. Games began Wednesday night, with players such as 2016 guards Josh Jackson and Seventh Woods, 2016 forward Dewan Huell, 2017 guard Trevon Duval and 2017 forwards DeAndre Ayton and Billy Preston among those in action.

Above are highlights (a lot of dunks) from the action, with Courtside Films putting together the video.

Photo credit: Kelly Kline/Under Armour (Billy Preston)

UAA mixtape of DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2017

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DeAndre Ayton, who many scouts consider the best prospect in all of high school, made his spring debut this past weekend in the Under Armour Association playing with Supreme Court.

The 6-foot-11 center is currently regarded as the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2017, according to Rivals. Eric Bossi, national recruiting analyst for Rivals, is among those who consider Ayton to be the best prospect in high school basketball.

Here’s a mixtape of his weekend, courtesy of Courtside Films.

Mixtape of No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2017, DeAndre Ayton (VIDEO)

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DeAndre Ayton is viewed by many as the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2017 and many believe he might even be the best overall prospect in high school basketball. A 6-foot-11 center who resides in San Diego, Ayton started making a national name for himself last year and impressed with a 17-point, 18-rebound effort in an exhibition game against North Carolina last summer.

Here’s a mixtape of his sophomore highlights from City League Hoops TV.

6-foot-11 big man tops Rivals’ 2017 rankings

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With the Class of 2017 entering its sophomore year of high school, Rivals.com released its ranking of the Top 25 players in the class. And at the top of the list is a big man whose name should already be known amongst die-hard college basketball fans, given his performance in an exhibition victory over North Carolina in the Bahamas this summer.

6-foot-11 DeAndre Ayton, who’s of Bahamian descent and attends Balboa City School in San Diego, California, tops Rivals.com’s first ranking of the Class of 2017. Ayton put together a very good summer for the Supreme Court grassroots program, but it was his play with the Providence Storm in their 84-83 win over North Carolina that truly turned heads.

Ayton, playing against a team expected to contend in the ACC this season, accounted for 17 points and 18 rebounds in the victory. Eric Bossi of Rivals.com wrote the following about where Ayton is in his development at this point in time:

So, what is it about Ayton that sets him apart from the others to make him the best sophomore and maybe the best prospect in all of high school basketball?

Already 6-foot-11, Ayton is no beanpole big man. He is still lean, but already has the muscle to compete with older and stronger players. He runs the floor like a much smaller player, is athletic, has a high basketball IQ and innate instinct and touch that is hard to teach.

Joining Ayton in the top five are guard Troy Brown Jr. (Las Vegas, Nevada), forward Jarred Vanderbilt (Houston, Texas), forward Michael Porter (Columbia, Missouri) and center Zach Brown (Miami Beach, Florida).

Las Vegas Wednesday Recap: Corey Sanders working to become a better leader

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LAS VEGAS — The final open period of the month is now underway, with many prospects having one last opportunity to display their skills in front of college coaches this summer. One team on the receiving end of attention from multiple assistants at high-major programs was the Showtime Ballers, thanks in large part to the guard tandem of Corey Sanders and Dwayne Bacon. While the first half of their showcase game against the Upward Stars was relatively quiet, both Bacon  and Sanders were the catalysts in the second half.

They worked well together, with Bacon being at his best when in “attack mode.” As for Sanders he displayed the ability to penetrate the defense, using his handle to get to the basket on multiple occasions while also having the willingness to move the basketball to teammates in better positions to score. And in speaking with Sanders following the game, the area where he’s looking to make the greatest strides this summer is one that is of great importance to successful point guards.

“The number one thing [I’ve been working on] is leadership,” Sanders told NBCSports.com. “Being able to run the team and get my teammates open; just making sure my teammates are involved so they play with me. [Leadership has] been the most important thing I’ve been working on this summer.”

Sanders is in a slightly different position than Bacon this summer, due to the fact that he’s gone through the experience of verbally committing to a school and then changing his mind. Sanders verbally committed to attend UCF back in September, only to reopen things a month later. And while the time Sanders spent as a committed recruit wasn’t particularly long, it served as a learning experience for a player who now finds himself juggling multiple options entering the final open period of the summer.

“Make sure you take your time [with the process],” Sanders said when asked what he took away from that experience. “Look through everything and all the schools that want you, and let them do their job and recruit you.”

Sanders also noted consistency as an important factor when it comes to the recruiting process, and that can be an issue for many recruits. While there certainly are programs that exercise great caution in handing out offers, there are others who aren’t as judicious in doing so. As a result there can be confusion for some prospects, as they look to figure out which schools are truly interested and which ones are merely offering multiple options at the drop of a hat.

In regards to Sanders’ ongoing recruitment, he mentioned DePaul, Texas A&M, UNLV, Rutgers, USF and Wichita State when asked which schools have been recruiting him the hardest. As for what he’s looking for, a strong coaching staff that will help him improve his game and solid academics are two keys according to Sanders. The point guard is hoping to narrow things down at the end of the month, which will allow him to focus even more of the schools that make his list heading into his senior year of high school.

Dorsey solid but Brunson displays better lead guard skills in win: One of the most intriguing individual matchups in the Fab 48 showcase games was that between Mac Irvin Fire floor general Jalen Brunson and Belmont Shore’s Tyler Dorsey. While both players were productive, with Brunson’s sparking a second-half comeback for the Fire, it was evident which player is further along when it comes to being able to run a team at the college level. That would be Brunson, who displayed a solid balance of attacking the defense in search of his own looks with the need to make sure his teammates wound up with the ball in advantageous positions himself.

Dorsey’s more of a scorer at this point, but there were cases in which he made a concerted effort to get his teammates quality looks. However it’s still a work in progress for Dorsey, who will make the move from St. John Bosco to Marantha High (Pasadena, California) this coming season where he’ll play alongside 6-foot-10 forward Trevor Stanback. With Dorsey playing with two talented options in Jordan Dallas and Vance Jackson this week, he’ll have opportunities to set up his teammates. While he’s definitely a talented scorer, it’s premature to assume that Dorsey improving as a distributor is out of the question.

Among the programs represented at this game: Texas, Kansas, Minnesota, Illinois, Wichita State, Arizona State, UNLV, St. John’s, Oklahoma State, Creighton and Nebraska.

DeAndre Ayton shows glimpses of skills that have many excited: While Ayton and fellow 2017 prospect Troy Brown don’t play the same position, with the 6-foot-11 Ayton plying his trade in the front court and the 6-foot-6 Brown doing so on the perimeter, the fact that they were on the same court attracted many interested observers. And when it came to which player had the greater impact on the matchup between the Las Vegas Prospects and Supreme Court Force, Ayton was clearly the more impactful player of the two.

While there were times in the open floor when Ayton seemed to be going a bit too fast for his handle, skills such as his ability to catch just about anything thrown to him (including a couple impressive one-handed alley-oops) and rebound outside of his area were on full display. As mentioned above both are 2017 prospects, so we’ll be hearing a bit about these two as they work to become even better players in the years to come. Among the schools watching this game were UCLA*, Arizona*, San Diego State*, USC, Wyoming*, Oregon State*, UNLV and Florida (* – head coach was present).