In July at the Peach Jam, Aaron Gordon told me he had a top three of Washington, Arizona and Kentucky.
“Yes, that’s probably how it would go,” Gordon said then. “It’s all wide open right now, but that [order] would be the closest.”
Here we are four months later and the 6-foot-9 Gordon has officially trimmed his list to those same three schools, eliminating Kansas and Oregon.
He took official visits to all five schools, with the last coming to Kentucky this past weekend, and plans to sign in the spring.
Washington has long been considered to have an inside track because head coach Lorenzo Romar and Ed Gordon, Aaron’s father, grew up in the same Los Angeles neighborhood.
“Washington’s a really good school,” Gordon said in July. “I love Romar. I also like [Kentucky Coach John] Calipari a lot. I like [Arizona Coach] Sean Miller. I like all those guys. There’s no really No. 1. Those are very close to my top three.
“Washington’s probably up there, but there’s really no No. 1.”
Arizona has a pipeline to the Oakland Soldiers program, having landed Josiah Turner, Nick Johnson and Brandon Ashley in recent years. (Turner is no longer with the program.)
“I just think that they like Washington and I don’t think it’s one ahead of the other or anything like that,” Soldiers executive director Mark Olivier recently told SNY.tv. “Aaron’s a kid that gets the vibe, and once he gets the vibe, that’s who he’s going to go with. It’s where he thinks it’s going to be a good fit at the end of the day. It’s going to be his decision.”
Kentucky already has a loaded class for 2013 with forwards Marcus Lee and Derek Willis and guards/wings Aaron and Andrew Harrison and James Young.
The Wildcats also remain in the mix for both Julius Randle and Andrew Wiggins in the spring, but Olivier said none of that would scare or deter Gordon from potentially choosing the defending NCAA champs.
“Have you ever see Aaron Gordon play?” Olivier asked rhetorically. “I don’t think it’s a question of if he can fit in. I don’t care what school he goes to. For his situation, he wouldn’t have trouble fitting in anywhere.
“Aaron offers some things that, he’s like Blake Griffin, man. I’ve been very blessed to have him for the last two years in our program. I know the kid’s heart, his toughness. That kid’s going to be on the court. When you compare Aaron to all those kids, I’m not worried about Aaron. I think some of those other kids, it might be vice versa.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.