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Dunk-fest: Arizona-bound Aaron Gordon is McDonald’s game MVP

Aaron Gordon

This is one of Aaron Gordon’s nine dunks in the McDonald’s game. Photo by Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The McDonald’s All-American Game is more showcase than game, filled more with alley-oops than defense.

That said, it’s all good when the recruit of your favorite team is the one doing all the dunking.

Aaron Gordon, a 6-foot-8 forward who committed to Arizona on Tuesday, made Wildcats fans (even more) eager with anticipation after he led the West squad to a 110-99 victory and earned MVP honors at United Center in Chicago.

He scored 24 points, with nine of his 10 baskets coming on dunks.

“He dominates the game inside the arc,” Paul Biancardi, ESPN’s director of basketball recruiting, said on the telecast.

“He plays the game with high energy; one of the strongest, most explosive players in the class. What really opens your eyes about him is this kid competes with a constant effort, even when he doesn’t score.

“He’ll be one of the best finishers in the Pac-12, because he rises up, quick and high. He has body control to avoid the defenders and the strength to dunk over opponents.”

Gordon shot 10 of 17 from the field, adding eight rebounds, two assists and two steals in 24 minutes. He did have one embarrassing moment when he missed an all-alone attempt at a dunk after going between his legs with the ball.

He’s been a power forward, and the big question as he arrives at Arizona is how well he can transition to the small forward position. If the Cats use a combination of Gordon, fellow McDonald’s All-American Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Brandon Ashley, they likely won’t get a lot of 3-point shooting from that spot.

Gordon admits in the video below that the consistency of his jump shot needs to improve. He needs to be on the Kyle Fogg shooting plan this summer, taking upwards of 40,000 jumpers. He’s not going to be getting nine dunks in a Pac-12 game.

“He’s got to improve on his outside shooting,” Biancardi said.

“Anything past the high post, he struggles with his jump shot. At the 3-point line, he has to work on the catch-and-shoot. But you put him inside 15 feet, he can dominate the action — posting up, driving to the basket, a lot of and-ones.

“And he’s a very good defender. He can defend the small forward, the power forward and even the center. He could be the x-factor for Arizona to get deep in the NCAA Tournament.”

Gordon started for the West squad. Hollis-Jefferson came off the bench for the East squad and scored nine points in 15 minutes.

The future Wildcats will get to further know each other when they compete against each other in the Jordan Brand Classic on April 13 in Brooklyn, N.Y., and when they serve as teammates for the U.S. squad at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland on April 20.



Arizona’s all-time McDonald’s All-Americans

For a photo of Aaron Gordon and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson together, click on over to my Facebook page.


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