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Busting Brackets

Aaron Gordon: Scouting Profile


One of the most exciting basketball plays is the dunk. When it is executed to perfection, it gets the crowd on its feet, roaring with appreciation. The simple display of agility, dexterity and athleticism makes people look on in awe.

Normally, the best dunkers are in the NBA, guys like Vince Carter and Lebron James. It’s a bit more rare to see ferocious dunkers in high school. Every now and then though, it happens and that is exactly the case when it comes to Aaron Gordon.

If you don’t believe me, have a look at his highlight reel.

After hardly ever losing a game in high school, Gordon became highly touted by big programs and appeared on basketball fans’ radars with his massive, gravity defying dunks. Though he was highly sought out, Gordon was one of the recruits who declared his commitment early, announcing before the McDonald’s All-American game that he would be playing for the Arizona Wildcats.


Obviously, Gordon is a tremendous athlete. He has a great body, is in terrific shape and is incredibly strong. He probably has the best vertical leap in his recruiting class and he has a flair for the dramatic. He resembles Blake Griffin in the way that he can just destroy the hoop and make it look so artistic.

Unlike many of the athletic types that make it to the NCAA, Gordon does not rely purely on his physical gifts to be a good basketball player. He is a smart guy who has great basketball IQ and who understands the game. He is listed as a power forward, where he uses his speed advantage to beat his defender to the rim, but Arizona is fully planning on using him as their starting small forward, something Gordon should be able to play. His versatility is great because it allows his team a lot of flexibility on where to play him. If the Wildcats were to decide on a small ball lineup, Gordon could even conceivably as a center.

Another great advantage Gordon holds for a man his size is that he is extremely unselfish and has great vision. He does not care who scores the points as long as the team is winning and he has demonstrated throughout his high school career that he is a great passer on the floor. He reads the play extremely well and delivers pin point passes almost like a point guard.

Gordon’s intensity combined with his athletic abilities make him a scary good rebounder and one who crashes for every loose ball. He plays with abandon and is completely unafraid of getting injured. Gordon is one of those players that will do everything to win and that doesn’t stop at sacrificing his body. He is one of those teammates that everyone loves and rallies around.

That motor also makes him a great defensive player who is only getting better. On picks, he is not afraid to switch out on guards and chase them around the perimeter. He is active in the paint and knows when to go for blocks. He doesn’t make bad decisions though, Gordon knows when to hold back in order not to commit a foul.

Gordon is currently playing in the World Under 19 games for Team USA where he has been one of the team’s most consistent player. He has shown great scoring ability on the break and has rebounded the ball extremely well.


While Gordon is a smart basketball player, he is also still really raw in terms of pure skill. His jump shot is average at best and will definitely need some work in order to be useful at the NCAA level. The same thing goes for his post game, he does not look comfortable receiving the ball in the post and having to back down his man, he is much more of a face up kind of guy.

If Arizona plans on using him extensively as a small forward, Gordon will have to work on his ball handling skills. While he is able to over power high schoolers with his size and speed, NCAA athletes are at a higher caliber, they aren’t at a disadvantage like a lot of high school players might be. In order for Gordon to be able to get to the rim like he did in high school, he will have to be able to use his dribbling to get by defenders. At the moment, his ball handling is nothing spectacular and it will leave him open for easy steals going the other way.

There will be some hemming and hawing about whether or not Gordon is big enough to play the power forward or quick enough to play the small forward, especially when the time comes for him to make the NBA leap. The best Gordon can do about that is put the questions to rest by working really hard at both positions and excelling at them at Arizona.

What to expect at Arizona:

One thing is certain, Wildcats fans will get to see a lot of exciting dunks, especially in transition. Gordon should be an impact player the second he steps foot onto Arizona campus. He has a great attitude, is a great teammate and is only looking to get better as an overall package.

Gordon will rebound the ball extremely well, he will get better with his offensive fundamentals and he should have an excellent season. His addition should make Arizona a threat to go fairly deep in the NCAA tournament and make some noise again for a program that has been quieter than usual in the past couple of years.

It remains to be seen whether Gordon will only spend one year in school. He certainly has the talent to go to the NBA after one year but he is one of the more raw recruits from 2013. He might choose to stay a few years and really work on his game to show that he deserves a spot in the NBA. If he does, he could eventually become a contender to be a first overall pick in 2015.

Either way, Arizona will be one of the most entertaining teams to watch in 2013-14 and Gordon will be a huge part of that.