UA HOOPS

Arizona basketball: Time for a little well-earned rest

Busy Hollis-Jefferson, Gordon get short break before heading to UA
2013-04-22T00:00:00Z 2014-08-01T11:32:53Z Arizona basketball: Time for a little well-earned restBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 22, 2013 12:00 am  • 

For most of its participants, the Nike Hoop Summit signaled the transition from being a high school player to, for a final few weeks, a regular high school student.

There are no more high school games to be played. Just some classwork to finish up, some senior-year events to attend, and time to rest before moving on to college.

"I'm going to lay in my bed and watch TV for hours," said Canada's Andrew Wiggins, of Huntington (W.Va.) Prep.

UA signees Aaron Gordon and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson both said they'd do a little relaxing, too, but not for long.

Hollis-Jefferson said he planned to enjoy his high school prom and take some time off, while he plans to move to Tucson in June. Gordon said he would try to stay away from the game for a week and a half, and met with UA coach Sean Miller on Sunday to discuss what he needed to do to prepare for next season.

An overhaul is hardly necessary.

By winning the McDonald's All-American Game MVP and appearing on the elite USA Junior Select team in the Hoop Summit, Gordon showed why he is a Top 5 player in the class of 2013 and a lottery prospect in the 2014 NBA draft.

Already, the intensely focused Gordon had an idea of what he wanted to do before he arrives in Tucson.

"I'm going to get stronger, and just keep working on my all-around game," Gordon said. "I'm not at a specific position - I'm just a basketball player - so I'm just going to work on every spot so I can get my game as good as possible for the start of the season."

Hollis-Jefferson had similar goals for the immediate future.

"When I'm done (resting), I want to get back in the gym, get my legs stronger, and work on my jump shot," he said.

The one thing Hollis-Jefferson and Gordon won't have to do when they arrive in Tucson, joining Northern California guard Elliott Pitts in the freshman class, is introduce themselves.

The two played opposite each other in the McDonald's All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic, with Gordon on the West teams and Hollis-Jefferson on the East, and played together on the Junior Select team in Portland.

Hollis-Jefferson said it was valuable to play with Gordon so he could "get a feel for his game," while Gordon said the two were already friends.

Spending time together off the court in Portland didn't hurt.

"We were right around the hall from each other," Hollis-Jefferson said. "I'd go to his room, he goes to my room. We talk a lot."

Then again, it's not like Hollis-Jefferson is hard to get to know, leading the USA team in levity in Portland.

"He's a funny guy, very outgoing," Florida-bound guard Kasey Hill said. "He likes to have fun."

Even the at-risk youth at the St. Mary's Home for Boys received a taste of Hollis-Jefferson's personality.

When USA Junior Select coach Mike Jones tried to get the students cheering during a clinic held before Friday's practice at St. Mary's, Hollis-Jefferson took over. At one point, Hollis-Jefferson instructed the students to cheer for Jones, too.

"That was pretty cool," Hollis-Jefferson said of his day there. "We did a clinic and had fun with it. You've got to know these kids have had the worst life so we've got to try to help them."

On StarNet: Keep up with the UA hoops team with Bruce Pascoe's blog at azstarnet.com/pascoe

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