Aaron Gordon (Archbishop Mitty/San Jose, Calif.) is one of three top-1o recruits who are still on the board. While some players are trimming their list of options for next year, the 6-foot-8 Gordon has actually added to his recruitment.
Friday night, according to a tweet from Eric Bossi of Rivals.com, Gordon added Oregon to his list of finalists which include Kentucky, Arizona and Washington.
In mid-November, Gordon had trimmed his list to only three, eliminating California, Kansas, Stanford and UNLV among others. He has previously visited all four of his remaining schools. The power forward could join the star-studded recruiting class John Calipari is bringing to Lexington this fall, or sign with Arizona, who brought in three frontcourt players in 2012. Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar attended high school with Gordon’s father, Ed and will need another rebounder for next season.
Kentucky has six commits in 2013 and could add another before it’s all said and done. Arizona currently has a two-man class, headlined by small forward Rondae Jefferson (Chester High/Chester Pa.). Oregon already has a power forward committed, four-star Jordan Bell (Long Beach Poly High/Long Beach, Calif.). A trio of guard have pledged to Washington, including Nigel Williams-Goss (Findlay Prep/Henderson, Nev.).
Gordon is coming off an impressive showing at the 2013 Spalding Hoophall Classic with 27 points and 12 rebounds in a loss to Lone Peak High School (Uta.), with several highlight reel dunks.
On Monday, Jan. 21 — Day 5 of the Hoophall Classic — Gordon said despite some of these schools with loaded classes or players at his position already committed, that won’t effect his decision.
“I’m not really looking to fit in at college,” he told Jordan Higgs of MassLive.com. “I’m looking to stand out.”
Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne
Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.
After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.
Video credit: Wyoming Athletics
Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.
Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.
Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.
Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.
Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.
But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.