Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Aaron Gordon Recruiting Okafor, Winslow to Arizona
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Aaron Gordon doesn’t know where Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow will end up playing college basketball.
But he knows one thing for sure.
Wherever they go — especially if they end up comprising a three-person package deal with point guard Tyus Jones — that team will be a force to be reckoned with.
“Wherever they go, they’ll be very good,” Gordon told SNY.tv following USA U19 practice Thursday at the Verizon Center.
Of course, the 6-foot-6 Gordon has a specific school in mind for the Terrific Trio.
“I’m trying to get them all to come to AZ but I don’t know,” said Gordon, who will be a freshman at Arizona this coming season.
Asked how hard he was working it for his future school, he said, “Pretty hard.”
The 6-foot-10 Okafor chuckled when the subject was brought up.
“[Gordon] talks to me every now and then,” he told SNY.tv. “Our conversations are really normal, but he mentions it sometimes.
“He just tells me how much he likes it, the weather, how much fun it is. You know, I already know about the coaches and how they develop players, so he just says stuff like that.”
Okafor and Winslow have Arizona on their respective lists, but the 6-1 Jones out of Apple Valley (MN) does not.
“I’ve been trying,” Okafor said with a laugh.
“They just need Tyus to put [Arizona] on their list, so I’m going to start texting Tyus,” Gordon said, before adding excitedly. “It’s a point guard school, man.”
Gordon also added that Mater Dei (Calif.) small forward Stanley Johnson — Gordon’s Oakland Soldiers teammate — is considering Arizona as well.
“So does Stanley, too,” Gordon said. “All four of them, man, that team would be nasty. That team would be crazy.”
Of course, Gordon will likely be long gone to the 2014 NBA Draft by the time any of these guys show up on campus, but that won’t deter him from working it for Arizona.
“Yeah, but it’s my school now, so gotta continue the legacy,” Gordon said.
Jones wrote in his USA Today blog that he was “feeling pretty good” about getting Winslow to join him and Okafor in college.
“We’re just all really, really great friends,” Okafor said. “And for all of us to go to the same college, that would be perfect, that would be the ideal situation for us. If everything could work out that way, it would be perfect.”
Duke is considered by many to be the frontrunner for Okafor and Jones, but both are also considering Kentucky, Kansas, Baylor, Ohio State and Michigan State. They will take an official together to Baylor in late August, but Winslow told SNY.tv he has not yet committed to that visit.
How good would their future college program be if all three players ended up in the same spot?
“I think it would be very good,” Okafor said. “We don’t want to go any college where we can just play. We want other good players already there, older players, that can help us develop and teach us the right things to do.
“I think wherever we go the team will be very good.”
U19 and Florida coach Billy Donovan — who could end up coaching against these guys in college — agrees.
“Two great kids and really, really good IQ,” Donovan told SNY.tv of Okafor and Winslow. “Tremendous upside potential, terrific ability.”
**For more coverage of the USA U19 and U16 teams, click here.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.