Those titles both belong to Arizona State point guard Jahii Carson at the NBA Draft Combine, which is taking place this week in Chicago. The shortest player in attendance at 5-foot-9.75, Carson grabbed some attention Friday by posting a 43.5-inch vertical, tied for best among all players with Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown.
Meanwhile, the guys from Tucson weren’t too bad themselves. Arizona’s Nick Johnson, known as a high flier for a guard, lived up to that reputation Friday by recording a 41.5-inch vertical, tied for third (with UCLA’s Zach Lavine and Michigan’s Glenn Robinson III) behind Carson and Brown. The 6-foot-3 Johnson said to the Arizona Daily Star afterward that "I told everybody I was going for 50. But still, I think I showed how athletic I am."
Yes, he did:
And then there’s Aaron Gordon, whose Blake Griffin comparisons aren’t for nothing. The freshman phenom with an assortment of highlight-reel dunks available on YouTube (like this one) didn’t quite match Johnson’s vertical number but wasn’t far behind, hitting 39 inches, tied for the eighth-best jump among all participants.
Aaron Gordon has a 39 inch max vert. Terrific for a player his size. #NBACombine
Maybe the most impressive aspect of his jump was that, since the measuring bars are set a little lower for forwards (who are usually slightly less upwardly mobile), Gordon nearly went over the entire rack on his vertical, forcing the bars to be reset before his second try.
While the Chad Fords of the world came away plenty impressed, Gordon himself seemed almost disappointed, which only makes sense when considering that, according to the Daily Star, Arizona reported that the 6-foot-8.75 Gordon posted a 43-inch vertical in the fall.
"Thirty nine is not bad," Gordon told the Daily Star before adding, "I can jump better than that."
A scary thought. But on this day, he — and everyone else — is looking up at Carson.