Arizona Wildcats freshman forward Aaron Gordon will announce his future plans today, and he probably won’t be the only one.
Gordon’s mother, Shelly Davis, told the Star on Monday morning that her son would discuss his decision in person today, and UA said late Monday evening that it would hold a news conference “to discuss the current state of the Arizona men’s basketball program.”
Gordon and guard Nick Johnson are expected to leave for the NBA while freshman forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and sophomore center Kaleb Tarczewski also have been considering a jump.
When asked how many players might be involved in the news conference, a UA spokesman said only that there would be multiple players available because the news conference is not just about the NBA Draft.
Davis declined to say what her son had decided, though Gordon has long been expected to leave and UA coach Sean Miller has accepted five 2014 recruiting commitments. Those put the Wildcats technically two over the scholarship maximum for next season, suggesting UA expected multiple early departures.
Gordon, just 18, is projected as a mid-lottery pick by most top mock drafts. Draft Express pegs him at No. 8 and, if he were picked in that spot, Gordon would receive about $5 million in guaranteed salary over his first two seasons.
Johnson is projected to be taken in the mid-second round by Draft Express and ESPN’s Chad Ford rates him the No. 57 prospect in the 2014 draft.
Meanwhile, Hollis-Jefferson’s draft stock has been rising.
Ford calls Hollis-Jefferson the No. 24 prospect and Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony said he would be picked in the first round should he leave UA this season.
“I think he’s a really good prospect other than the fact that he can’t shoot,” Givony said of Hollis-Jefferson. “If he could shoot, he’d be a top 10 pick.”
Hollis-Jefferson’s mother, Rylanda Hollis, said she wasn’t planning to talk to her son about his decision until today and didn’t know what he will do.
Johnson’s mother, Michelle Mayland, has not returned repeated messages while a key mentor for Tarczewski, John Carroll, also did not return a message Monday.
Davis declined to say what the decision-making process has been like with her son until after he announces his plans. She said she was leaving Tucson today, having been in town because Gordon had his wisdom teeth removed.
If at least Gordon and Johnson depart today, UA would then be at its projected maximum of 13 scholarship players for next season even if there are no other early departures.
That would be just in time for the spring signing period that starts Wednesday, during which time Serbian center Dusan Ristic is scheduled to sign a letter-of-intent for Arizona.
A center from Kansas’ Sunrise Christian Academy, Ristic committed to Arizona last month, the latest commit in a 2014 class that includes guards Stanley Johnson and Parker Jackson-Cartwright of Southern California, junior college guard Kadeem Allen of Wilmington, N.C., and forward Craig Victor of New Orleans.