Determining Aaron Gordon's Best Destination for College Basketball

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistApril 2, 2013

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

With the McDonald's All-American Game looming, many of the nation's top undecided college basketball recruits are narrowing down their lists. Among them is promising power forward Aaron Gordon, who has been courted by several teams, but has one ideal option staring him right in the face.

According to, Gordon is the No. 6 player in this year's recruiting class. At 6'8" and 210 lbs. he certainly has some growing left to do, however, he is a 5-star prospect with ability at both ends of the floor. That is why top programs such as Washington, Arizona, Kentucky and Oregon have put the full-court press on the San Jose, Calif. native.

Gordon is one of the few players in the McDonald's All-American Game who hasn't yet chosen a college, but his choice could come as soon as Tuesday night. Although nothing is for certain at this point, Washington appears to be in position to finish second in its bid to acquire Gordon's services, according to Percy Allen of the Seattle Times.

Allen is also reporting that Arizona is the leader in the clubhouse, but that is far from a guarantee. Provided Gordon does decide to become an Arizona Wildcat, though, it would be a great decision on his part. All four of the schools that are pursuing Gordon have their merits, but Arizona offers him the best chance to showcase his skills early and win as well.

Washington had a middling year in the Pac-12 and it is set to lose a number of seniors. From a production standpoint that is beneficial to Gordon, but it's very unlikely that the Huskies will compete for an NCAA Tournament bid next season. That may not ultimately matter to Gordon if he plans to be one and done, but playing in the tourney can definitely boost draft stock.

Kentucky just missed out on the NCAA Tournament this year, but most of that had to do with the loss of elite freshman big man Nerlens Noel. It seems quite likely that Noel will enter the NBA Draft despite the fact that he is recovering from injury. That would open up a spot for Gordon to contribute, but Kentucky has such a stacked incoming class that it will be difficult for Gordon to stand out.

Oregon is another team that will be losing several seniors, so Gordon would play a key role from day one. The Ducks surprised a lot of people by reaching the Sweet Sixteen this year; however, it will be tough for them to repeat that feat next season regardless of whether or not Gordon chooses Oregon.

Arizona is a school that offers the best of all worlds to Gordon. The losses of Mark Lyons and Solomon Hill will sting, but explosive guard Nick Johnson will remain in the fold and Gordon can potentially form a lethal frontcourt combination with Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski. There would be more than enough minutes to go around and Arizona would definitely be in contention in the Pac-12.

The allure of playing for Arizona head coach Sean Miller should come into play as well since Miller has often put big men in a position to succeed and get drafted highly into the NBA. Former Arizona forward Derrick Williams is the first player that comes to mind, and perhaps Gordon can follow in his footsteps provided he bulks up a little bit.

Gordon will probably have individual success regardless of where he goes because of his versatile skill set, but the goal for top prospects these days is to go somewhere that offers the opportunity to contribute immediately and win in the process. No school on Gordon's shortlist is better than Arizona in that regard.

The decision is ultimately Gordon's to make, so it will be interesting to see what the blue-chip recruit values most when it comes to choosing a school.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter