PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Devin Booker has been great. Chris Paul, he's been everything the Phoenix Suns needed and then some. But Phoenix isn't in the position they're currently in without the play of Deandre Ayton. And those back in Deandre's hometown of Nassau, Bahamas, couldn't be happier. "We're proud to say that he's from the Bahamas," said Jeff Rodgers, the organizer of one of the islands' biggest basketball camps.
Rodgers can still remember the first time he saw Ayton at one of his camps. "I think he could have been anywhere between 8 and 10 years old," Rodgers said. "And to be running around the camp playing with those young boys, he's so tall. To see a guy stand 6'5," it just kind of looked weird."
But inside that skinny kid was already a glimpse of that magnetic personality that fans in the desert have come to know and love. "I just look at him as a real sweet guy to be around," Rodgers said. "He's a fun guy. He wants to make everybody happy. He's just a regular fella."
That makes him someone all Bahamians can relate to, no matter how many miles away he is. "I mean, he used to play basketball in his parent's yard," Rodgers said. "He wasn't the type of guy who would go in the park or hang out in the gym playing basketball. But I think he had a determination to want to learn."
The exciting thing? There's still so much room for Ayton to learn and grow. "The country is cheering for him," Rodgers said. "It doesn't matter what team you pull for. Right now, everybody is pulling for Phoenix."
And if the Suns are able to win two more games and an NBA title? "We'd probably set up a big parade, a big motorcade for him. Everybody is just going to celebrate with him," Rodgers said. "I'm quite sure that his impact is going to go a long way for years to come."