(BROOKLYN, New York): CARIBBEAN TIMES NEWS has learned that in the 2018 National Basketball Association (NBA) draft, the Phoenix Suns selected Bahamas-born Deandre Ayton as their number #1 overall pick. Ayton, a standout freshman player in college for the Arizona Wildcats, was seen by analysts and insiders as by far the overall top draft prospect this year, having won multiple awards in his only year of collegiate level competition.
These achievement milestones include: being placed on the Consensus first-team All-American (2018), the Karl Malone Award (2018), the Pac-12 Player of the Year (2018), the First-team All-Pac-12 (2018), Pac-12 Freshman of the Year (2018), Pac-12 Tournament MOP (2018) along with honors at the high-school level with being named a McDonald’s All-American (2017) and the winner of the Jordan Brand Classic (2017).
Ayton, who plays the center position, stands at 7 ft 1 inches tall at just 19 years old, is the second Caribbean-born NBA star to be selected as the Number #1 overall pick since the San Antonio Spurs selected perennial All-star, multiple NBA champion, and an assured first-ballot Hall of Famer, from the US Virgin Islands, Tim Duncan, in 1997.
He is also the third Caribbean-born star to be selected as the Number #1 draft pick in the NBA, with the first being another Bahamian-born national, Mychal “Sweet Bells” Thompson, father of current Golden State Warriors All Star Guard, Klay Thompson, who was selected by the Portland Trailblazers in the 1978 NBA draft, and then went on to have a multiple-championship career with the Showtime Lakers of Los Angeles in the 1980s alongside other Hall of Famers Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabar and James Worthy.
Current Minnesota Timberwolves star and center, Karl-Anthony Towns, selected Number #1 in the 2015 NBA Draft, is also of Dominican Republic descent via his mother, but was born in New Jersey with an African-American father. Ayton’s selection also brings back sportswear apparel line, Puma, into the NBA footwear brand as Puma signed a four-year, multi-million dollar endorsement deal with him days prior to draft day.
Ayton is headed to a Phoenix Suns basketball franchise that finished last place in the entire league with a record of 21 wins and 61 losses. So he and his new teammates have their work cut out for them.