Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller might have his problems with referees, but not with recruits.
In what could stand as the biggest offseason news for the program, five-star recruit Aaron Gordon announced his commitment to Arizona on Tuesday morning at Media Day for the McDonald’s All-American Game in Chicago.
Gordon, a power forward from San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty, committed to UA over Washington, Oregon and Kentucky.
Gordon (6-8, 215) is rated the nation’s fifth-best prospect by 247Sports, and the sixth-best recruit in the rankings by Rivals.com and Scout.com.
Gordon joins a recruiting class that includes 6-5 guard Elliott Pitts and fellow McDonald’s All-American Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, a 6-7 wing known for his defense. Both signed letters of intent in the fall. Gordon can put his signature on a letter of intent when the spring signing period begins April 17.
He joins a loaded Arizona front line, but the presence of post players Kaleb Tarczewski, Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett, Angelo Chol and Matt Korcheck should happily move Gordon to the small forward spot at times, perhaps most of the time.
Gordon, the brother of former UCLA and New Mexico standout Drew Gordon, still has to improve his outside shot, but he’ll welcome time at the wing, which is where he’ll project to play in the NBA. He is said to the have the appropriate motor, energy, ball-handling and explosive athleticism to play at the 3.
Arizona, after losing Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom, could use a combination of Gordon, Hollis-Jefferson, Ashley and maybe Pitts at small forward. The long-term plan has been for Ashley to transition to the 3, and he talked after the Sweet 16 loss to Ohio State about working on his perimeter skills this summer in advance of seeing some time at small forward.
The starting backcourt is set with point guard T.J. McConnell and Nick Johnson, both juniors. The small forward spot looks well-covered now. And the big men all return. Cue the high expectations for 2013-14.
Jerry Meyer at 247Sports wrote that Gordon made the strongest impression at Monday’s practice for the McDonald’s game:
“Gordon repeatedly got wherever he wanted to get on the court with the dribble. He still prefers his right hand but was going to the left more often than in the past. Gordon’s finishing was hit or miss, but his athleticism is on a level that only Andrew Wiggins can match in the 2013 class. As his game tightens up, Gordon becomes more and more like a Shawn Marion type player or even better.”
(Watch the video at the top for the explosive dunks and highlight plays; check out the video at the bottom for more emphasis on his passing and basketball IQ.)
The McDonald’s game will take place Wednesday on ESPN at 6:30 p.m. Tucson time.
West coast wildcat #BearDown
— Aaron Gordon (@_AG_32) April 2, 2013