Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Gordon's versatility could be key for UA
By Joel Francisco
After Aaron Gordon (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty) decided to hold off and not sign during the early signing period in November, the speculation began as to where he would take his talents next season. Early on, it seemed a forgone conclusion to most pundits that he was headed to Washington, especially considering his tight relationship with Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar.
However, a visit to Arizona in the fall altered that decision, and on Tuesday Sean Miller yet again lured another top-tier prospect to Tucson.
Gordon's talents are immense, and he plays with a vengeance -- while still maintaining a veteran-like demeanor -- that is rarely seen in high-level recruits. In terms of his physical attributes, Blake Griffin comparisons have come to mind at times and I'll even throw in some young Amare Stoudemire similarities in terms of running in transition and assaulting the rim.
However, Gordon has some evolving wing skills and savvy -- he’s a terrific passer -- that Griffin and Stoudemire still haven't implemented in their games. There were many times throughout this season when Gordon played some point forward and exhibited his nifty passing skills, further adding to the speculation that he may play some small forward for Sean Miller.
If Gordon does indeed play some 3 next season, he'll need to improve his ball-handling as well as his shooting. He handles well in the open court, but he plays too upright while attacking in the half-court set and the defenses at the next level will have him well scouted. In addition, his jump shot is just fair at this stage and lacks the consistency to be considered a strength.
Overall, the Wildcats will have an embarrassment of riches in the frontcourt with sophomores-to-be Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett, and Kaleb Tarczewski all returning. Whether Gordon cracks the starting lineup remains to be seen, but those fall practices will be intriguing to say the least.
In fact it wouldn't surprise me in the least if Miller decides to play small ball with Jerrett at center, Ashley and Gordon at the forward slots, and Nick Johnson and Duquesne transfer T.J. McConnell manning the 2 and the 1, respectively. This lineup would cause opposing coaches fits due to its versatility and athletic prowess.
In the early signing period, Miller also inked top 25 prospect Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Chester, Pa./Chester) and ESPN 100 shooting guard Elliott Pitts (Concord, Calif./De La Salle).
Needless to say, this is a squad that should have national championship aspirations.