From Hillcrest Prep to NBA Summer League: Ayton and Bagley III dominate the spotlight
LAS VEGAS -- The Thomas & Mack Center stood still in the first quarter when Deandre Ayton got the ball in the post for the first time against Marvin Bagley III and started backing him down towards the rim.
The attention was entirely on the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in this year’s NBA Draft as the 7’1” Ayton elevated for a 10-foot jumper over the 6’11” Bagley III. The shot rimmed in and out and a summer league basketball game resumed between the Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings.
Ayton and Bagley III went at it for the rest of the night, with each one-on-one situation drawing the eyes of the basketball world.
Ayton vs Bagley Part One was a spectacle in itself, but for the two NCAA All-Americans, they have been the center of attention since high school days. They were even teammates for a year at Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix back in 2015.
“We’ve been competing against each other in practices, we know each other’s game and we have a lot of respect for each other off the court as well,” Ayton said. “Being on this floor, we just know we had to go at each other to put on a show for the fans.”
And the top two picks did indeed put on a show. Ayton posted a routine double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Bagley III countered with 15 points and seven rounds as the Suns pulled away with a 71-63 win.
Ayton showcased a few highlight-reel dunks and Bagley III utilized his athleticism for a wide variety of scoring moves. It was a show worthy of the Las Vegas spotlight.
“It was exciting, it was fun. (Ayton) is a great player. You know it’s always good to go against him, especially somebody that I played with before,” Bagley III said. “On the court, we obviously played against each other and it’s pretty much no friends. But off the court, he’s always gonna be my guy.”
The first night that Ayton and Bagley III took the court together at Hillcrest Prep in October of 2015, they both scored 30 points. The high school stars were both the No. 1 ranked prospects in their respective classes before Bagley III reclassified to 2018 and showed why they were deserving of the center stage.
On Saturday they shared that center stage again and it won’t be the last time they do, either.
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