BASKETBALL

Arizona basketball: UA, Oregon vie for 5-star Gordon as he picks today

2013-04-02T00:00:00Z 2014-08-01T11:30:41Z Arizona basketball: UA, Oregon vie for 5-star Gordon as he picks todayBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 02, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Five-star forward Aaron Gordon will announce his college choice today, according to his high school basketball coach.

A 6-foot-8, 215-pound prospect in the class of 2013 from Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif., Gordon will choose from among Arizona, Oregon, Washington and Kentucky during a news conference in advance of Wednesday's McDonalds All-American Game.

Mitty coach Tim Kennedy said Monday that Gordon made up his mind earlier this season.

"I think he was pretty much certain," Kennedy said. "But he wanted to wait to make sure he could get that comfort level with his decision."

Kennedy declined to specify how much Gordon considered Arizona. But he said Gordon enjoyed his visit to Arizona last fall, his relationship with UA coach Sean Miller and the Wildcats' style of play.

Kennedy said Gordon also likes the team Arizona will have next season and is not concerned about whether players may depart, even though the Wildcats are loaded with returning forwards.

"He's not worried about that," Kennedy said. "He knows whatever school he's going to, he's going to" make an impact.

Gordon's Mitty team reached the California Open Division finals where it lost to UA target Stanley Johnson and Mater Dei High School.

Gordon had 22 points and 20 rebounds in the final game. Gordon averaged 21.6 points, 15.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.1 blocks over the course of the season while playing virtually everywhere on the floor, Kennedy said.

By many accounts, UA's chances are believed to be good to land what would be its highest-rated recruit yet under Miller. Three out of five ESPN recruiting analysts predicted Gordon would choose the UA, with the other two saying Oregon will land him.

Here's how each finalist appears to measure up:

• Arizona: The Wildcats are expected to return Kaleb Tarczewski, Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett, Angelo Chol and Matt Korcheck at the power forward and center positions.

But there have been indications that Gordon is interested in playing small forward, where he might be more easily accommodated (though Ashley is a candidate to move there in the long run, and UA signee Rondae Jefferson can also play there).

"I think Gordon is eyeing UA's frontcourt with a different lens," ESPN analyst Dave Telep said. "Instead of seeing a crowd at the four and five, he sees opportunity at the three."

When asked where Gordon wants to play in college, Kennedy did not name a particular position.

"He wants to be very versatile," Kennedy said. "He wants to be a basketball player. He likes the wing, but he can play the point, and can bring it up. We'll get him on the block, but he'll run the point for us a little bit. He's almost a point-post."

• Oregon: Gordon put the Ducks back on his list earlier this season, when the Ducks were in first place in the Pac-12. Oregon's point guard, Dominic Artis, is a former teammate of Gordon's on the travel-ball Oakland Soldiers, while the Ducks will need help up front after losing Arsalan Kazemi, Tony Woods and E.J. Singler this spring.

"I think when he announced (the Ducks), they were doing really well," Kennedy said. "Also, the Artis connection was big, too."

According to The Oregonian, Artis said he was "definitely trying to keep Oregon in (Gordon's) ear," while the Ducks also made the strategic move of holding their first pre-NCAA tournament practice at Mitty's gym.

• Washington: The Huskies were long considered an early favorite for Gordon, in part because of the strong relationship between Gordon's family and Washington coach Lorenzo Romar (Gordon's father, Ed, attended high school with Romar). Gordon could also be an instant go-to force in the Huskies' frontcourt. But Washington hasn't reached the last two NCAA tournaments.

• Kentucky: The Wildcats of Lexington are almost automatically added to any potential one-and-done recruit's list of finalists these days. But Kentucky is also loaded in the frontcourt, especially after top recruits Julius Randle and Marcus Lee decided to go there, and it's long been believed that Gordon would prefer to stay closer to home.

"Earlier in the recruiting process I predicted Kentucky," ESPN's Reggie Rankin wrote, "but I think the Julius Randle commitment at the same position and similarities between their games could make it tough for coach John Calipari to pull off."

Cats' Jefferson in McDonald's game

Whether Aaron Gordon joins them, the Arizona Wildcats will be represented in Wednesday's McDonalds All-American Game by Chester (Pa.) forward Rondae Jefferson.

Jefferson gives the Wildcats 18 total McDonalds All-Americans, 14 of whom signed out of high school.

Last season was the first that the UA has had two McDonalds players: Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett (Kaleb Tarczewski was not eligible as a fifth-year high school player).

The all-time list:

• 1984: Craig McMillan, Coverdale, Calif.

• 1985: Sean Elliott, Tucson

• 1987: Brian Williams (started career at Maryland), Santa Monica, Calif.

• 1988: Chris Mills (started career at Kentucky), L.A.

• 1990: Khalid Reeves, N.Y.

• 1991: Ben Davis (started career at Kansas) Vero Beach, Fla.

• 1996: Loren Woods (started career at Wake Forest), St. Louis

• 1996: Mike Bibby, Phoenix

• 1998: Richard Jefferson, Phoenix

• 1999: Jason Gardner, Indianapolis

• 2002: Hassan Adams, L.A.

• 2003: Mustafa Shakur, Philadelphia

• 2004: Jawann McClellan, Houston

• 2006: Chase Budinger, Encinitas, Calif.

• 2007: Jerryd Bayless, Phoenix

• 2012: Brandon Ashley, Oakland, Calif.; Grant Jerrett, Chino Hills, Calif.

• 2013: Rondae Jefferson, Chester, Pa.

Up next

• What: McDonald's All-American Game

• When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday

• TV: ESPN

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