I confess I only watched him in the PAC-12 tournament and the NCAAs. So maybe those March impressions (Divencenzo, Wagner, etc.) do get over blown.
However, I think his intangibles might be the thing that pushes him above a lot of other talented players who lack motivation:
- His parents come from Nigeria and Jamaica, so he’s really a foreign player, with a completely different world view and set of motivations than Americans.
- He started out as a soccer player. In my experience, great tennis players develop through cross sport training at a young age. I think Ayton’s footwork is a testament to that.
- He plays the tuba!! Anyone who plays a musical instrument well develops a sense of timing that can be transferred to sports. As someone in the bass section, he was playing contrapuntal rhythms under the melody, which may explain why he always seems a half step slow:)
- He went to band practice and was probably dissed a lot as a kid, but has that big man mentality where he knows he can’t retaliate because of his size and strength. So I totally discount the TFN comment. It shows humility and a sense of humor, but also a memory for past slights.
I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people with his drive to be great.