Tuesday morning five-star and McDonald All-American Aaron Gordon (San Jose, CA/Archbishop Mitty) will make his decision on where to play college basketball next season. The No. 5 overall player in the class of 2013 is deciding between Arizona, Kentucky, Oregon, and Washington.
Aaron Gordon will announce his college choice Tuesday morning.
Arizona is going to be a top 15 team next season with or without Gordon, but if Arizona gets Gordon they become one of the few teams to contend for that No. 1 ranking.
Arizona's frontcourt is already loaded and minutes will be tough to come by. Gordon doesn't want to get placed into the center position and Arizona has plenty of other bigs that can play there instead of him. Instead Gordon wants a shot at playing small forward and with Solomon Hill departing there is an opening in the starting lineup for him to assume. Five-star Rondae Jefferson is set to arrive at Arizona in the fall and will command minutes at the small forward position as well.
Nick Johnson returns for his third year starting at shooting guard and is a former Oakland Soldier, the same AAU team as Gordon. A collection of transfers and incoming guards will also arrive next season.
In short Arizona is going to be loaded and adding Gordon makes the Wildcats the Pac-12 favorites next season, easily.
John Calipari is a master at getting elite talent to converge in Lexington, KY and mesh it into one giant ball of elite talent. Kentucky already has the nation's best recruiting class and adding Gordon would make things just unfair.
Kyle Wiltjer and Willie Cauley-stein have said they will be back at Kentucky as well next season. With elite talent returning and more coming in the Wildcats have a ton of options for lineups. On top of that Calipari can offer Gordon the chance to not only play with the nation’s best players but practice against them every day before going off to the NBA.
Kentucky is likely the front-runner for favorite of winning the national title next year with or without Gordon and that has to be appealing.
Kentucky landed Julius Randle earlier in March and likely removed themselves from the Gordon race but you never count out Kentucky and Calipari.
Oregon's Sweet 16 run sent waves in the college basketball landscape notifying the nation that Dana Altman and his Oregon program can be viewed as a major player. Oregon returns star guards Dominic Artis and Daymean Dotson while presenting Gordon a chance to start at three different positions due to E.J. Singler, Arsalan Kazemi, and Tony Woods graduating.
Gordon wants to play for a team set to win next year, that returns a good point guard, and has ample playing time. All three items fit Oregon perfectly. The Ducks will have to do some reloading and questions will be asked by the Ducks ability to do that but with Gordon in the fold the entire program at Oregon changes. Oregon would go from an up-and-coming to a program ready to compete with the nation’s elite.
Gordon has a longstanding relationship with Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar since his freshman year. Washington, like Oregon, presents plenty of playing time at forward due to seniors departing and lack of talent.
Romar can use Gordon in a variety of ways: High post, motion, up-tempo, and the head of Washington's press. The possibilities with Gordon at Washington are endless.
With C.J. Wilcox likely returning along with emerging sophomore Andrew Andrews the Huskies have two solid pieces returning. Nigel William-Goss, another All-American playing with Gordon Wednesday, is also coming to Washington. Four-star guard Darin Johnson is set to come as well. The Huskies will be young but present a lot of talent once again.
Gordon has said in the past he wants to win at the next level, play at a school that is in major need of a front court player like himself, have a point guard proven and able to fit his style of uptempo play, and have a coach that can develop his game to get to the NBA.
The logical choice is Oregon based on that criteria.
The Ducks with Gordon would be looked as a Top 25 team and one who could win the Pac-12 title. Oregon needs help along the front line with all three starters gone and Gordon able to play all three spots. Oregon also has a proven point guard - who happens to be close with Gordon - in Dominic Artis while other programs will all have new starting guards next season. On top of that Oregon head coach Dana Altman has shown in his three years at Oregon he can develop talent and get his teams to compete and win.
Oregon and Washington will be good next season but can they compete for a national title with Gordon? That’s the big question.
That said Gordon wants to win and for that reason I say he goes to Arizona. At Arizona he might not play as much at a school like Oregon nor will he have the offense run through him most trips down. That said Arizona is already going to be viewed as a national title contender and adding Gordon makes them even better. Gordon wants to simply win and at Arizona that chance is the highest.
The Pick: Arizona