The commitment of San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty’s Aaron Gordon to Arizona this morning continues to exhibit Sean Miller’s ability to recruit top-flight talent to Tucson.
Since his hire at Arizona in 2009, Miller has recruited seven consensus Five-Star recruits to Arizona, including Gordon and fellow Class of 2013 signee Rondae Hollis-Jefferson of Chester (Pa.).
“I hope Tucson is celebrating because I’m going to be a west coast Wildcat,” Gordon said during his press conference in Chicago, where he will play in the McDonald’s All-American game with his future Arizona teammate, Hollis-Jefferson.
Three of Miller’s Five-Star recruits were in last year’s class and each contributed to Arizona’s Sweet 16 season: forwards Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett and center Kaleb Tarczewski.
The other Five-Star recruits were in the Class of 2011: Point guard Josiah Turner (who is no longer with the program) and shooting guard Nick Johnson.
Gordon, also ranked No. 4 in ESPN’s list of top 100 recruits from the Class of 2013, can’t officially sign until April 17. He led Mitty to West Catholic Athletic League, Central Coast Section and Northern California championships this season, averaging 21.6 points and 15.7 rebounds per game.
Scout.com recruiting analyst Josh Gershon, who followed Arizona basketball recruiting since the Lute Olson era, writes that Gordon “may be the most heralded high school prospect to ever set foot in Tucson.”
“The five-star prospect is a freak athlete with an ideal frame for a 6-foot-8 forward,” Gershon writes. “He has a nonstop motor, finishes well above the rim, rebounds, blocks shots, can handle the ball in the open court and has a consistently improving face-up game.
“With the addition of Gordon, Arizona now has what has to be considered one of the most talented teams in the country for next season, and a frontcourt that is just absolutely loaded.”
Gordon told reporters in Chicago that he will fit in well with Arizona’s returning talent.
“Arizona has a young, long, athletic front court and a very experienced, talented backcourt with (Duquesne transfer) 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 and Hollis-Jefferson will get their fair share of minutes next season. Another Class of 2013 signee, wing/guard Elliott Pitts of Concord (Calif.) De La Salle High School, should also challenge for playing time because of his tenacity and high basketball IQ.
Gordon can fill a similar role that Derrick Williams held in the 2010-11 Elite Eight season: A power forward who can play on the wing and open Arizona’s offense. Gordon’s addition will impact Ashley and Jerrett the most. If Ashley and Jerrett welcome the competition, it should make all of these prospects better.
Miller also has a history of spreading minutes mostly to eight to 10 players in the rotation. Every body will get an opportunity to perform.
The 2013-14 rotation can look like this (starter listed first):
Point guard: McConnell and Jordin Mayes, the only senior on the team.
Shooting guard: Johnson, sophomore Gabe York and Pitts.
Wing: Hollis-Jefferson, Jerrett and Pitts.
Power forward: Gordon, Ashley, Jerrett and junior Angelo Chol.
Center: Tarczewski, junior-college transfer Matt Korcheck and Chol.
That’s 12 players. Arizona can fill 13 scholarships.
Kevin Parrom and Arizona plan to petition the NCAA for a medical hardship waiver to gain a fifth-year of eligibility. If the NCAA does not approve the request, Miller may elect to recruit another prospect (although a majority have signed or committed elsewhere), welcome a transfer or give the scholarship to a walk-on.
Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner