Aaron Gordon will be in attendance when Oregon takes on Oklahoma State on Thursday in the NCAA West Region—a game the Ducks must win to ensure they land the prized recruit.
According to Adam Jude of The Oregonian:
Oregon freshman point guard Dominic Artis and Gordon played AAU ball together with the Oakland Soldiers. Artis confirmed Gordon would be on hand for Thursday's game at HP Pavilion. "Definitely trying to keep Oregon in his ear," Artis said. "It would be great if we got him up there for next year."
The connection with Artis is likely a selling point for Gordon.
An Oregon victory in the team's first game of the NCAA tournament against the fifth-seeded Cowboys would go a long way toward convincing Gordon that he belongs with the Ducks in 2013.
According to Darren Sabedra of the San Jose Mercury News, Gordon will make his decision at the McDonald's All-American Game on April 3 in Chicago. Sabedra reports that his finalists are Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Kentucky.
Washington recently lost to Oregon and was then thoroughly dismantled by BYU in the first round of the NIT tourney. Kentucky was also ousted in the first round of the NIT, and that program took a huge step backwards this season.
Does Oregon need to win to secure Gordon?
Arizona is a perennial contender that has begun to flourish under the guidance of head coach Sean Miller. It is a six seed in the West Region this year and will face Belmont later on Thursday. Belmont could easily defeat the Wildcats, which would be fortuitous for Oregon, especially if it defeats Oklahoma State.
Adding a powerhouse forward like Gordon would be a feather in the cap for head coach Dana Altman. Oregon's program hasn't been a national contender since the 2006-2007 season, and Gordon would instantly boost the team's ability to score against top competition.
If the Ducks end up losing in the second round to the Cowboys, it by no means eliminates them from landing Gordon, but a victory would make his upcoming decision much easier to make.
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