Aaron Gordon: Washington, Arizona and Kentucky Pursue Top Recruit
Aaron Gordon recently took an unofficial visit to Pac-12 school, Cal, along with Jabari Bird, who committed to the Golden Bears' men’s basketball program after the trip.
Bird's commitment brings a lot of questions in regard to the future college destination of Gordon, who originally planned to visit other schools with Bird.
Following his verbal commitment, Bird stated via the San Jose Mercury News, "For the most part, both Marcus [Lee] and Aaron [Gordon] liked the visit a lot. I'm just trying to build on that with them, so I can convince them to come to school with me."
While almost nothing is a sure bet in college basketball recruiting, Gordon is not expected to make a decision until the spring. Earlier this summer AOL SportingNews provided some excellent insight into the player's thought process on the recruiting front:
I’m going to take a few more visits, take all five of my officials. I’m going to watch a lot of NCAA basketball and make my decision in the spring...If I were to commit now, so many things could change by the time I go to college…
If the 6'8" small/power forward out of San Jose sounds wise on recruiting matters for a kid that will celebrate his 17th birthday in a week, there is a reason behind it.
Gordon’s older brother, Drew, was a member of a highly-touted UCLA Bruins recruitment class in the mid-late 2000s. The elder Gordon and his relationship with Bruins head coach Ben Howland was one of the focal points of the now infamous SI report on UCLA:
The message some players took from Gordon's departure was this: At UCLA you could fight, you could drink alcohol and do drugs to the point that it affected your performance, but the one thing you could not do was question Howland's knowledge of the game.
The younger Gordon definitely is taking his brother’s experience with college recruitment and play into consideration in his ultimate selection of a team, as AOL SportingNews also quoted him as saying:
Basically, my brother didn’t do what I’m doing now. So I got to see what he’d go through, what decisions to make, what to look for in a coach. My eyes are a little more opened maybe in regards to other people because of my big brother.
It seems fairly clear that Gordon's relationship with the coaching staff is of big importance and something that will likely play a large role in his ultimate decision. For several coaches, signing Gordon would be the highlight of their 2013 recruit class.
Gordon is ranked sixth overall by ESPN and fifth by Rivals in the 2013 recruiting class and has offers from Arizona, Cal, Kansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oregon, Stanford, Washington, San Diego State and UNLV.
Gordon’s list of basketball accomplishments, justifying his recruitment, is a long one, including leading Archbishop Mitty High to a state championship as a sophomore. More recently, Gordon captured an MVP award at the Under Armour Elite 24 Game last month.
Gordon plans to use his official visits to check out Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Kansas and Kentucky. And prior to the Cal visit told SNY.tv (via ZagsBlog) that Washington, Arizona and Kentucky are currently his top three.
Gordon has already scheduled an in-home visit with Kansas, and has an in-home visit with Arizona head coach Sean Miller today. Things seem a little less certain with Oregon for this recruit, especially with Bird going to Cal.
For Washington, and more specifically Huskies head coach Lorenzo Romar, the difference in Gordon’s opinion is more love than like.
Gordon has been quoted by Zags Blog as saying, “Washington’s a really good school, I love Romar. I also like [Kentucky coach John] Calipari a lot. I like Sean Miller.”
But Washington and Romar know all too well that any time Kentucky is also in the race, the Wildcats are a serious challenge and not to be taken lightly. Only two years ago, another top-10 recruit, Terrence Jones, signed with Kentucky after verbally committing to the Huskies.
Washington does seem to be Gordon’s favorite, although the visits will likely hold a lot of importance in his ultimate decision. Arizona and Kentucky clearly have Washington beat in regard to facilities. And it appears Gordon, an NBA hopeful, plans to watch the upcoming season play out before making his decision.
Kentucky is coming off of an NCAA Championship season. Arizona looks to be back on a level of national importance, and added to the high expectations for the coming season by easily winning their exhibition games in the Bahamas last month.
Both teams took in some of the best recruiting classes in the NCAA this year, and are after several top recruits in the 2013 class (including, but not limited to Jabari Parker by Kentucky and Rondae Jefferson by Arizona).
While the Huskies are also after other 2013 recruits, for Washington it is a different story. For the Huskies, the recruitment of Gordon seems a little more important.
Washington was almost absent from the scene in regard to recruits signing this year, bringing in one transfer after losing its two top scorers to the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft. The Huskies will also lose a few seniors after this year.
While still early, Washington currently only has a verbal commit from 2013 4-star recruit Nigel Williams-Goss, with several scholarship spots available.
Needless to say, Gordon is a player that a lot of coaches, teams and fans would love to see wearing their school's colors come the 2013-14 men’s college basketball season.
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