2013 could be a very good recruiting year for Coach Lorenzo Romar.
When Matt Shingley committed to San Diego State University, SDSU fans were delighted. He was considered “one of the best players in the state [of California].” His team, La Costa Canyon-Carlsbad, north of San Diego, was one of the best (35 – 2) teams in its division, and on its way to the state championship game.
In the state championship game against the San Jose’s Archbishop Mitty, however, the normally excellent La Costa Canyon-Carlsbad team lost 78 – 57 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score. Shingley struggled to get 13 points and 5 rebounds. The primary problem? Two words.
Archbishop Mitty’s five-star recruit, 6’ 8” Gordon, ranked by ESPN as the No. 3 junior in the country, was both guarding Shingley and, in general, being a disruptive force against the entire La Costa Canyon-Carlsbad team.
La Costa Canyon-Carlsbad knew Gordon was coming. Knew all about him. Spent considerable practice time anticipating Gordon’s game. Nevertheless, Gordon scored 33 points and pulled down 20 rebounds (almost half of Archbishop Mitty’s rebounds, and five less than the entire opposing La Costa Canyon-Carlsbad team). Gordon hit 14 of 23 shots including both 3-point attempts. Gordon had 21 rebounds in the 2011 championship game (Archbishop Mitty also won in 2011) and probably would have equaled or exceeded that in the 2012 championship game if he were not pulled with 1:14 left, and Archbishop Mitty well out in front.
“Aaron performs the best when the lights are brightest,” said Archbishop Mitty Coach Tim Kennedy.
Although at center stage, Gordon is a team player, as is evident by his post game comments. ”This was one of the best games we’ve played,” said Gordon. “All around, this was our best effort.” He added, “I’m really proud of our seniors. Everyone on the team stepped up tonight. It’s a great feeling. I get a lot of the attention but I couldn’t do it without these guys.”
Coach Romar has been at many of Aaron Gordon’s games. At the moment, although Gordon receives at least 15 recruiting letters per day, and NCAA finalists Kentucky and Kansas are also calling, Gordon is leaning toward the University of Washington.
Ian Powers, national recruiting analyst for NBADraft.net, said of Gordon, “Aaron’s definitely the best draft prospect to come out of this area [South Bay]. There have been other good guys but they weren’t the athletic freak that Aaron is. If his jump shot develops and becomes a consistent weapon, he could be a top five pick.” Few players have springs like former 2011 Washington recruit Norvel Pelle out of Price High in Long Beach, who signed with St. Johns but failed to qualify and is reportedly attending Philadelphia’s Rise Basketball Academy (no pretense there) in an effort to become academically eligible, but Gordon has similar hops with better athleticism. Powers added, “NBA teams would draft him on his upside alone. That one thing that sticks out more than anything is he has a rare motor for a kid that talented and athletic.”
How athletic is “athletic”? The following YouTube highlight video gives a good indication.
Everyone can dunk. Fortunately Gordon does much more than dunk because, as Wilt Chamberlain once wrote, “When the [young] athlete is faster, stronger or taller than his opponent, he depends on those attributes; more often than not the athlete relies on them too much. As a result, these natural attributes keep the athlete from becoming more diverse, more of a complete player…Larry Bird and Dominque Wilkins [a phenomenal leaper] are classic examples…One of them always thinks his jumping ability is enough; the other knows he has to do something else to get that ball [Bird had superior rebounding stats].” Wilt would like Gordon’s versatility and motor.
Gordon, still just a junior, is already more of a complete player, considered a potential top five pick “if his jump shot develops and becomes a consistent weapon.” His jump shot is already developed, and should be a consistent weapon during his freshman year in college.
Gordon is also probably a one-and-done type. As Kentucky demonstrated, a team can go the distance with one-and-done types although, obviously, it doesn’t happen often.
Regardless, between Aaron Gordon and Jabari Bird of Salesian High in Richmond, Ca (and the usual surprises), Lorenzo Romar is doing a commendable job recruiting for the class of 2013.