Arizona Basketball

Aaron Gordon’s momentum putting charge into Arizona Wildcats

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WHAT IS PRODUCTIVITY RATING?:
PP: Productivity Points (Points, assists, rebounds, steals, blocked shots, FGs made, FTs made added together and then subtracted by missed FGs, missed FTs, personal fouls and turnovers)
MIN: Minutes played overall
PR: Productivity rating per minute played (Productivity points divided by minutes played)

ARIZONA 79, STANFORD 66
PRODUCTIVITY RATING

* — STARTERS
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ArizonaLogo logo.Stanford2

The last three games make it obvious that Arizona freshman Aaron Gordon is most dangerous in the open court to the point where he loves pushing the tempo himself.

Aaron Gordon is playing his best basketball at the right time of the season

Aaron Gordon is playing his best basketball at the right time of the season

On a few occasions last night against Stanford, Gordon (6’9″ and 225) dribbled the ball upcourt fast in transition and looked natural like a point guard despite his size. His north-south momentum seems to put a charge into the Wildcats as evidenced by his highlight-reel behind-the-back fake-and-take move against the Cardinal.

Gordon and Arizona (27-2) have found a part of their game that will make opponents cringe heading into March Madness: Scoring off transition baskets.

The Wildcats outscored Stanford 16-0 in fast break points, exhibiting to the extreme how dangerous Arizona can be in the open court and on defense. The 16 points are a season-high for Arizona. The shutout in transition was remarkably the Wildcats’ sixth of the season and second in the last three games (Arizona outscored Colorado 6-0 in this category including a couple of Gordon slams).

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Gordon and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, quite the finishers, feed off the confidence of Arizona’s backcourt T.J. McConnell and Nick Johnson, who combined for eight assists and four turnovers against the Cardinal.

In the last three games in which Arizona has averaged 84.7 points, McConnell and Johnson have combined for an astounding 35 assists with only six turnovers. And that performance was against three potential NCAA tournament teams — Colorado, Cal and Stanford.

“Our backcourt, Nick and T.J., really imposed their will on offense and defense,” Miller said after last night’s game. “They have a confidence about them. As the season has gone on, I think that confidence has continued to grow.”

It helps them to know Gordon and Hollis-Jefferson are fluid in transition and Kaleb Tarczewski is becoming more of a force inside when Arizona must execute its half-court offense.

“We’re making the extra passes,” McConnell told reporters last night. “We’re also starting to hit outside shouts and Kaleb is dominating down low. Everybody is playing well right now.”

Gordon is leading that charge. Ever since he had his worst experience at Utah, fouling out with almost nine minutes remaining, Gordon has been a terror.

In the last three games, his productivity rating is an incredible 1.132. He has improved from an overall rating of .565 after the Utah game (a season-low for him) to .618 now. What Arizona has seen from Gordon in the last three games is what Wildcat fans commonly saw from Derrick Williams (1.043 productivity rating in 2010-11) and Sean Elliott (1.003 as a senior in 1988-89).

If Gordon does not play another game at McKale Center because he pursues his NBA dream, at least he finished on a strong note.

“That’s looking too far into the future if you ask me,” Gordon said when asked if he played his last game in Tucson. “As close as it may be, we’re focused on the present and focused on winning games right now.”

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TOP FIVE ARIZONA REBOUNDING TEAMS
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PAC-12 STANDINGS
a-Clinched outright regular-season title
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PAC-12 RPI (ESPN.com)
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ARIZONA OVERALL PRODUCTIVITY RATING
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ARIZONA PAC-10/12
PLAYERS OF THE YEAR:
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NICK JOHNSON CAREER POINTS RANKING
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ARIZONA SCHEDULE/PRODUCTIVITY RESULTS
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WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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