Sports Illustrated’s regional March Madness cover features Deandre Ayton
How do we know March Madness has arrived? When Sports Illustrated’s NCAA Tournament preview special edition drops.
The magazine’s latest will be available on March 12, just after Selection Sunday, but it already released its main cover stories — and covers.
One of the four regional editions features the Pac-12 Player of the Year, Arizona freshman Deandre Ayton standing out among a collection of prior March Madness stars.
The cover accompanies a feature by Jeremy Woo titled “Valuable and Versatile, Arizona’s Deandre Ayton Leads College Basketball’s New Breed of Big Men.”
On the other regional covers for the March 12 edition are Kansas’ Devonte’ Graham, Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter and Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr.
Ayton averaged 19.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game while shooting 61.6 percent and 34.4 percent from three-point range.
The 7-foot, 250 pound big man from the Bahamas has already been named to the Associated Press’ All-Pac-12 First Team and Sporting News’ 2018 All-American Team. He became the first Pac-12 freshman in 25 years to average at least 19 points and 11 rebounds, finishing with 19.9 points and 11.4 rebounds during the regular season. Ayton is the second freshman to lead the conference in rebounding, joining California’s Leon Power in 2004.
Behind Ayton and first-team all-Pac-12 guard Allonzo Trier, Arizona overcame a season of turmoil to win its fifth Pac-12 title in six years. Ayton is projected to be a top-five pick in this year’s NBA draft.
“He’s a once in a generation player,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “I doubt if I’ll coach anyone like him again.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.