Ayton named Pac-12 Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year

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Simon Asher | The Daily Wildcat Deandre Ayton busts a move after the Arizona-Cal game on Saturday, March 3 in McKale Center.

Arizona men's basketball freshman standout Deandre Ayton was selected as the Pac-12 Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year for 2017-18. He is the first Wildcat to receive the honor since Nick Johnson in 2013-14.

The selection comes on the heels of his being chosen to the All-Pac-12 first team, All-Pac-12 defensive team and All-Pac-12 Freshman team. Ayton led the Wildcats in scoring, rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage. Those categories in addition to double-doubles in a season, were all freshman records at Arizona. Sporting News also selected him as a 1st team All-American.

His selection as both player of the year and freshman of the year is the first in the conference since Kevin Love accomplished the feat for UCLA in 2007-08.

"I mean it's a blessing to be honest, I work really hard on my game," Deandre Ayton said on Pac-12 Networks.

Freshman sensation Deandre Ayton made his debut against Northern Arizona, scoring 19 points and hauling in 12 rebounds.

Ayton is expected to be a top NBA draft prospect and is currently rated No.1 by Draft Express. In Saturday's press conference following Arizona's home finale, head coach Sean Miller said that Ayton would not be coming back to school following the conclusion of the Wildcats run in the NCAA Tournament.

Ayton beat out Utah's Justin Bibbins, UCLA's Aaron Holiday, USC's Jordan Mcglaughlin, and Stanford's Reid Travis.

In addition to Ayton, Allonzo Trier was also selected as all-conference first team selection and Dusan Ristic was selected to second team honors. Sophomore Rawle Alkins was a second team honorable mention selection after missing parts of the season with a foot injury.

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