Wide receiver John Ross is doing 11-on-11 work for the Bengals during
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play a big role in their offense isn’t quite that far along yet.
Tight end Tyler Eifert played just two games last season before having back
surgery and has played in only 24 games over the last four seasons because of
injuries, which has the team taking things slowly despite Eifert’s insistence
that he could handle a full workload. Eifert is watching 11-on-11 work right now
and says he’s on track for a full workload come training camp.
“I feel good. I’m on schedule,” Eifert said, via the Cincinnati
Enquirer. “This has been part of the plan to stay monitored as we progress
through here. I don’t want to go out there and have any setbacks or anything, so
just methodically moving forward. The plan is to go into camp full speed but
there’s nothing keeping me back from doing that right now. It’s part of the
plan, or progression.”
Memories of Eifert’s 13 touchdowns in 13 2013 games helped him land another
one-year deal in Cincinnati and a healthy campaign would be a boon to the team’s
offense. History says the team can’t count too heavily on seeing that happen,
Deandre Ayton spent Wednesday with the Phoenix Suns with the feeling
that this was the start of a beautiful relationship.
The 7-foot-1, 250-pound center went through what he said would be his only
pre-draft workout and expressed supreme confidence that the Suns will use the
No. 1 overall pick to select him.
”I know I’m going No. 1,” he told reporters.
Not that the Suns have assured him of that, he’s just that confident that the
team won’t pass on his combination of size, strength, athleticism and shooting
”Nobody told me,” he said. ”That’s just me. I think I deserve that. I’ve
It would be a comfortable fit for
Ayton http://www.bengalsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-malik-jeffer son-jersey ,
who was born in the Bahamas and moved to the Phoenix area during high school. He
said most of his family now lives here. Ayton played his one year of college
basketball a couple of hours down Interstate 10 at the University of
”Everybody knows us now,” he said. ”This is our second home so we just feel
welcome, and it would be a blessing if I become the No. 1 pick and stay here and
make this home.”
Ayton said teaming with young Suns star Devin Booker would be ”Shaq and Kobe
”We could really make something happen in Phoenix,” he said. ”We could really
have a spark and start a winning legacy.”
There hasn’t been much winning in Phoenix lately. The Suns have missed the
playoffs eight years in a row and had the NBA’s worst record last season at
21-61, second-worst in franchise history.
But there is a young core of talent and most of those players, including
Booker and Josh Jackson, watched what Ayton described as ”a pretty intense”
For nearly an hour, Suns coach Igor Kokoskov and his staff put Ayton through
a series of game situations, as much as possible given the fact no other players
were on the floor.
”It was everything that we expected form Deandre,” general manager Ryan
McDonough said. ”Obviously we’ve watched him closely at Arizona and we’ve
scouted him heavily in person in games, at practice and on film. He showed us
what we expected to see.”
McDonough said ”it’s pretty rare” to find such a player.
”I think this is my 16th draft in the NBA,” McDonough said, ”and you can
probably count on one hand the number of guys with his
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It’s a unique package.”
He was particularly impressed with Ayton’s outside shooting touch.
”We knew he was big and strong and athletic and moved well at that size, had
good length, had great hands,” McDonough said, ”but to see him make shot after
shot in a workout in different scenarios.”
And he’s just 19 years old.
The Suns plan other workouts with candidates for the No. 1 pick later this
week. The group won’t include Luka Doncic, who is still playing in Europe.
Phoenix is not tipping its hand, but Ayton will be hard to pass up.
”The strength of our team right now are young perimeter players, led by Devin
Booker, Josh Jackson and T.J. Warren,” McDonough said. ”We’ve been looking for a
center to kind of anchor our team offensively and defensively. We think Deandre
has that kind of potential. … He’s certainly a unique player and a unique talent
that I think would fit in great with the rest of our roster.”
Ayton averaged 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds in his one season at Arizona. He
brushed aside questions about his defense.
”I don’t think that’s a
Evander Kane Jersey ,” he said. ”I haven’t had the opportunity to really
guard any bigs in college. I was always on the perimeter with the guards.”
Still, he pointed out, he averaged 2.3 blocked shots per game.
On offense, Ayton said, ”I can score inside and out.”
”There will be a lot of mismatches because if I guard them they have to guard
me at the end of the day,” he said. ”I can score, I can pick and pop, I can pick
and roll, I can put the ball on the ground, rebound, push the ball. It’s an open
floor now. Nobody is really double-teaming or triple-teaming.”
He said there is no current player on which he patterns his game. But he
mentioned two pretty good ones from the past.
”Kevin Garnett, his intensity on both ends of the floor, how he changes the
game Jets Elite Jerseys ,
rebounding. From offense to defense, him starting the pick and roll, stuff like
that,” Ayton said, ”how he’s so vocal with his teammates. And Hakeem Olajuwon,
with his footwork down low, I try to really pick up a lot of stuff with those
Ayton called himself the most competitive player in the draft. He said
there’s none of the laid-back attitude that’s a trademark of his homeland.
”I left at age 12, so I got a little Americanized with the competitive
level,” he said.
Ayton planned to get together with Booker and other Suns players to watch
Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night.
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