McDonald's All American Game: UA recruits are big stars in big game

West forward and Arizona recruit Aaron Gordon rises for an uncontested dunk during the McDonald's All American Game in Chicago.


Arizona freshmen are generally kept away from interviews in the early season except for preseason media day, in part so they can adjust to their new demands as Wildcat basketball players.

But you get the feeling Aaron Gordon is already there. This is a guy who was the MVP of the McDonalds All-American Game, the MVP of the U-19 World Championships (even though he was only 17 at the time) and is already being touted as a college all-American.

So a few interviews Wednesday, and maybe some pressure, hardly fazed Gordon.

“People have been expecting things of me my entire life,” Gordon said. “I’m here and I’m going to play as hard as I can, be myself. Coaches have trust in me and players have trust. I’m just gonna play as hard as I can.”

Gordon said he’s “absolutely happy” so far as a freshman at Arizona, having announced on the McDonalds pre-game stage that he would become a “West Coast Wildcat” instead of joining Kentucky, Washington or Oregon.

“Everything was just as expected,” he said Wednesday, at UA's preseason media day. “They told me things in recruiting and they’re following through with it. It’s working out for the benefit of me the team and the coaches. I know I’m going to have to play hard with the amount of talent we have on the team and how defensively sound we’re going to be.”

Gordon said he didn’t know yet where his position will ultimately be, though he is expected to play both forward spots, possibly starting at small forward and shifting inside often. He said he’s fine with that and the idea of guarding smaller players.

“Defensively, you can only play the 3-2-1 spots if you can guard a 3-2-1,” Gordon said, “and I think I’m capable of doing that.”

Some other stories from UA's media day Wednesday:

-- Anthony Gimino looks at Gabe York's quest to crack the rotation for good this time.

-- The Daily Wildcat looked at the high expectations facing UA.

-- Our coverage: Zach Peters says he signed a form that's making it hard to become eligible, Greg Hansen writes about T.J. McConnell, and Jon Gold talked to brothers Nick and Chris Johnson.

With some fearing burnout in an already long season, some college basketball coaches are taking different approaches toward the extra practice time now that full workouts can begin six weeks before a team's first game.

Sean Miller says the Wildcats will take a "mini-camp" approach, holding practices four straight days with two consecutive days off before starting the usual six-days-on-one-off grind later next month. For UA, that process starts Friday, six weeks before UA faces Cal Poly at McKale Center.

Teams are allowed a total of 30 practices over those 42 days, giving them an average of five days per week (teams can have six days per week during the season).

Of two other schools UA will be facing this season, Washington will wait three days after its allotted start date to get going, while UNLV's Dave Rice says he's spending a lot of early work on conditioning and group drills, with regular practices beginning on Oct. 7.

Naturally, Dick Vitale is excited about the early start.

SI's Andy Glockner puts UA at No. 10 on a list of the best current college basketball program.

Among the questions facing New Mexico State (which visits UA on Dec. 11) is how good their 7-foot-5 (yes, 7-foot-5) sophomore Sim Bhullar will be.

Utah's Brandon Taylor wants to "run people out of the gym" at the high-altitude Huntsman Center.