VIDEO: Ayton & Bagley – Hillcrest Prep’s Dynamic Duo

Nearly all prep basketball coaches don’t have the privilege of coaching one NBA lottery pick. Unless you’re Kyle Weaver who, as the former head coach at Hillcrest Academy here in Phoenix, had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to coach two in teenage stars Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley. The lottery picks both attended and played for Hillcrest in 2015.

“We had Bagley first over there,” the now Bella Vista Scottsdale College Prep head coach said to Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat in a phone interview Thursday morning. “Deandre was looking for a school. They had just got done visiting Finlay Prep (Las Vegas) and then they came down to Hillcrest and [Ayton’s] mom fell in love with the Phoenix area. Obviously Marvin saw playing next Deandre would be a great thing.”

The talent and synergy on the court was evident from the opening tip of Hillcrest’s first game according to Weaver.

“You wouldn’t even have to coach,” he said with a chuckle. “You could hire just about anyone [to coach] and you could find a way to win games with those two. You’ve got two dynamic seven-footers that are as skilled as any seven-footers that have played this game. Playing alongside each other at the high school level is unheard of.”

Some of the most memorable times when the duo were together at Hillcrest was during practices when the two would go head-to-head in drills. The perfect storm matching Bagley’s finesse and quickness against Ayton’s size and strength.

“Seeing those two play against each other was phenomenal,” Weaver explained. “It’s a sight that in 20 years I’ll be telling my kids about coaching those two.”

During their one season together, the duo attracted crowds everywhere Hillcrest played, including exhibitions against local junior colleges in and around the Valley. The games were usually one-sided wins for the much younger team spear-headed by Ayton and Bagley.

“You kind of just let them play and be them,” Weaver said. “They are just going to find a way to enforce their will on the opponent.”

Expect the same sort of thing to happen in the NBA in the coming years, as well.

 

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.