|2008||U.S. Men’s Olympic Team|
|2004||Sean May & Chris Paul|
|1992||U.S. Men’s Olympic Team|
|1984||Michael Jordan & Sam Perkins|
Arizona Wildcats freshman forward Aaron Gordon picked up a big honor Tuesday morning, joining a list that includes Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
Gordon was selected the USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year after earning MVP honors of the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship and helped Team USA to the gold medal.
Gordon is averaging 12.2 points and a team-high 7.9 rebounds for top-ranked Arizona.
Here is the press release from USA Basketball, with previous winners of the award to the right:
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 14, 2013) – Arizona freshman Aaron Gordon (San Jose, Calif.), who helped the USA to a gold medal at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship and suited up for USA Basketball in the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit, today was announced as the 2013 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year.
“It’s a great honor,” Gordon said. “USA Basketball is a really good program. I respect everybody associated with USA Basketball, so for them to recognize me as Male Athlete of the Year is an incredible feeling.”
Coming off the bench in all nine games at the FIBA U19 World Championship, Gordon averaged team-highs of 12.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game to go along with 2.0 steals in 18.8 minutes per game, and he was named MVP of the 16-team tournament.
“Aaron is a great player, and the thing I really give him and the rest of the players credit for is that every single one of those guys is a high-profile player and they all knew going in that there was going to be some form of sacrifice that was going to have to take place for us to win,” said Billy Donovan, USA and University of Florida head coach. “No one was going to score 25 points, no one was going to play 35 minutes, it had to be a collective group effort and their buy-in ability toward that was tremendous.”
Gordon also contributed nine points for the 2013 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team, which fell to the World Select Team 112-98 on April 20 in Portland, Ore.
“USA Basketball has known what a tremendous competitor and teammate Aaron is since he first played for USA Basketball in 2011, and what he accomplished in 2013 was special,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO/Executive Director. “To earn MVP of the U19 tournament is remarkable, and to do it while coming off the bench is incredible. We are very proud to recognize his performance with this award.”
USA Basketball’s Male Athlete of the Year Award was established in 1980 to recognize a USA Basketball athlete who, during the year of the award, made a significant impact on the success of his team’s performance. The USA Basketball Board of Directors is responsible for selecting USA Basketball’s annual awards.
Among all participants in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship, which was played June 27-July 9 in the Czech Republic, Gordon was tied for fourth in steals per game (2.0) and fifth for field goals made per game (5.8) and shooting percentage (.612).
He recorded two double-doubles, including team-highs of 17 points and 11 rebounds in a win against China on June 28 and 14 points and 10 rebounds in a victory over Brazil on July 1.
Gordon reached double-digit scoring in six more games, including: 12 points versus Ivory Coast on June 27, 12 points against Russia on June 29, 15 points versus Australia on July 2, 11 points against Serbia on July 3, 12 points versus Canada in the quarterfinals on July 5 and 14 points against Lithuania in the semifinals on July 6.
Also in 2013, Gordon averaged 21.5 points, 16.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game to help his team to a 29-5 record and a California Interscholastic Federation NorCal regional title as a senior at Archbishop Mitty High School in California.
Additionally, he grabbed 22 rebounds on March 15, 2013, to set a CIF NorCal all-division regional finals record, and he finished his prep career as Archbishop Mitty’s career leader for points (2,124), rebounds (1,457) and assists (275).
At the conclusion of the 2012-13 high school season, Gordon was a McDonald’s All-American, and he earned MVP honors at the 2013 McDonald’s All-American Game after tallying 24 points, eight rebounds and two assists on April 3 in Chicago, Ill.
As a freshman at the University of Arizona in 2013-14, Gordon has started in all 17 games to help the Wildcats begin the season with a 17-0 record, and he is averaging 12.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 30.2 minutes per game (as of Jan. 14).