There is a lot of anticipation as the Phoenix Suns' number one draft pick, Deandre Ayton, prepares to kick off his rookie season. The 7-foot 1-inch center has been a dominate force on the hard court.
It is hard to believe Ayton only started playing basketball six to seven years ago, when he was 13 years old.
Ayton talked to AZFamily about growing up in the Bahamas. He says he worked with his step-father one summer, going on plumbing jobs with him to earn money. He cashed his first $100 check and used the money to pay for a basketball camp.
Eventually he would play for a high school in the Phoenix area; and one year at the University of Arizona. Now he finds himself in yet another jersey for an Arizona team.
When asked how he will feel about playing against some of the NBA greats like LeBron James, Ayton says, "All the time, respect where it's due. But at the end of the day when we step on the floor, we're competitors."
Ayton says he is not intimidated to play at the highest level of competition. He says so much of that attitude has to do with his mom. He says she is his rock and keeps him grounded.
"She's very tough. Not strict, but disciplined," explains Ayton. When asked if she keeps him in line, Ayton exclaimed, "Of course! Still to this day."
We learned that Ayton's pre-game ritual involves video games.
"When I was in college, I always carried my console with me. I play video games just to get the jitters out of my system," explains Ayton.
He says he likes to win on the virtual court before hitting the real one.
Besides basketball, Ayton confessed that he also plays a lot of Fortnite. He says the "Bright Bomber" is his favorite character and he likes the "Backpack Kid" dance. He broke out in the "floss" during our interview!
Besides being a descent dancer, we found that Ayton is also a pretty good musician.
"I played the snare drum and the tenor drum. Marching band was so disciplined," recalls Ayton.
During our interview, we gave him a gift: drum sticks. He started to play, right away, on the chair. All these years after his marching band days, he hasn't lost his touch.