Five-star forward Aaron Gordon picks Arizona over Washington, Oregon, Kentucky.
By STEVE RIVERAFS Arizona
TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller picked up his big man.
Or was that swing man?
Recruit Aaron Gordon, a 6-foot-8 forward from Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif., said he will attend Arizona on a basketball scholarship. Gordon made the announcement Tuesday morning in Chicago a day before he plays for the West at the annual McDonald’s All American game.
He’s the third recruit who has either committed to or signed with Arizona for the 2013-14 season. Forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (6-6) and shooting guard Elliott Pitts (6-5) already signed.
Gordon is rated as the sixth-best player overall by Scout.com. He chose Arizona over Kentucky, Oregon and Washington. It has long been thought Arizona has been the leader for at least the past month, but it took some time for Gordon to make his decision public.
It came on Tuesday morning.
"At the end of the day I just kind of felt it's where I would fit best and kind of felt that it was right in my heart," Gordon said, .
"Arizona has a young, long, athletic front court and a very experienced, talented backcourt with T.J. McConnell and Nick Johnson," Gordon said. "T.J. McConnell at Duquesne was third in the nation in steals and Nick Johnson can guard any position on the perimeter."
Gordon plays more of a power forward position for Archbishop Mitty, but with Arizona so deep at the big-man position it’s possible the Wildcats could use the versatile Gordon on the perimeter. Or at least that’s an option.
Scout.com recruiting analyst Evan Daniels describes Gordon as "tremendous in the open court, finishes well around the rim and plays with great energy and effort. He’s been arguably the biggest standout during the McDonald’s All-American practices this week."
Next year, Arizona has 7-footer Kaleb Tarczewski at center, 6-10 Grant Jerrett at the power forward spot and 6-8 Brandon Ashley at the small forward spot. Throw in 6-9 Angelo Chol and the Wildcats have plenty of depth near the basket.
Hollis-Jefferson, ranked as the nation's 11th-best recruit, also joins the mix as a small forward — where Arizona has a void given the departure of team leader Solomon Hill.
Depth won’t be a problem for Arizona, which reached the Sweet 16 this season and figures to be one of the early favorites for a possible Final Four next season.
Gordon and Hollis-Jefferson become the third and fourth McDonald’s All-Americans for Miller in two years. Jerrett and Ashley played in the McDonald’s game last year. Overall, he'll become the 18th McDonald’s All-American to join the Arizona program.
With the addition of Gordon, Arizona would still have one more scholarship to give to fill its allotment of 13. Arizona senior Kevin Parrom and Arizona have petitioned the NCAA for an additional year because injuries and circumstances surrounding his absence after he was shot before the 2011-12 season.