Deandre Ayton Declares for 2018 NBA Draft After Loss to Buffalo

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2018

BOISE, ID - MARCH 15:  Deandre Ayton #13 of the Arizona Wildcats dunks the ball in the first half against the Buffalo Bulls during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Taco Bell Arena on March 15, 2018 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

One of the country's top college basketball players is headed to the 2018 NBA draft, as Arizona center Deandre Ayton announced his intentions to go pro after the Wildcats' stunning NCAA men's tournament upset loss to Buffalo on Thursday, per Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.

Ayton was dominant during his freshman season, averaging 20.3 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. According to Sports Reference, he finished the year ranked second in the country in total win shares with 5.4.

He was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year as well as Freshman of the Year, also earning a spot on the conference's All-Defensive team.

While the 7'1", 250-pound big man was a force inside, he also showcased his versatility with a face-up game and a jump shot. According to Hoop-Math, only 48.2 percent of his shots were at the rim, and he knocked down 43.8 percent of his two-point jumpers and 36.4 percent of attempts from behind the arc.

This skill set is why he is ranked the No. 2 prospect in the class behind only Slovenian prospect Luka Doncic, according to Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman.

There are question marks about Ayton's defense and consistency, but he fits perfectly in the current NBA, which features talented centers who can score inside and out. With his size and agility, he has as much upside as anyone in the class and could make an immediate impact regardless of where he lands.

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