Arizona Certifies National Title Aspirations By Signing Top Recruit Aaron GordonPosted by PBaruh on April 2nd, 2013
Prior to today, the Arizona Wildcats were likely the favorite t0 win the Pac-12 next season. Now, with the addition of 6’8″ forward Aaron Gordon, who is rated the No.4 overall recruit in the nation by ESPN and the No.6 overall recruit by Rivals, the Wildcats are likely to be a contender for the national title. Gordon said earlier today at Media Day for the McDonald’s All-America Game that he plans on signing with the Wildcats.
This is just another move that speaks volumes to the immediate success that Sean Miller has had at Arizona. Miller has always been a tremendous coach and his product on the floor is proof of that with constant Sweet Sixteen and NCAA Tournament appearances. What might be more impressive, however, is his ability to recruit talent to Tucson. Last year, Miller brought in Kaleb Tarczewski, Grant Jerrett, and Brandon Ashley, which made for the third-best recruiting class in the nation according to ESPN. This year, Miller will bring in Gordon and two other ESPN 100 prospects in Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Elliot Pitts, which ESPN has now updated to rank as the fifth best group in the nation. Miller continues to beat out UCLA and Cal and all the other Pac-12 schools at getting the best players in California.
Although some may claim that Gordon will add to a logjam of frontcourt depth at Arizona, the departures of Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom will allow Gordon to slide right in at the small forward position. He can also play power forward at this level and has been compared to Blake Griffin with the plethora of dunks he throws at opponents coupled with his extreme athleticism. But he also brings tenacious defense and a very high motor. At Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Gordon averaged 21.6 points along with 15.7 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game this season. He led his school to Division II state titles in his sophomore and junior years but fell a bit short this year in the title game. Gordon still needs to improve his outside shot, but for the most part he has a very complete game. He can get wherever he wants on the floor with his athleticism, appears to be a willing passer, and is able to get second chances on shots easily with his tremendous leaping ability.
Among others in the running for Gordon were Pac-12 schools Oregon and Washington, and Kentucky. None of those could match what Arizona now provides Gordon — the best chance to win a national title. The Wildcats will return big men Ashley, Tarczewski, Jerrett, and perhaps Angelo Chol (who looks to he the odd man out in a loaded frontcourt). In the backcourt, they’ll bring back standout guard Nick Johnson and Duquesne-transfer T.J. McConnell should fill the role of point guard. Gabe York can provide minutes off the bench as well.
Ultimately, this team has reloaded once again and will be more than just a contender for a Pac-12 title. The conference has its first legitimate NCAA championship contender in the lineup since UCLA back in 2007-08. The Wildcats will have depth and size at every position once again and will be one of the strongest defensive teams in the country.