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 Looking for 2nd Straight Postseason MVP at Jordan Classic
NEW YORK — Six of the 22 players in Saturday’s Jordan Brand Classic are headed to Kentucky, so the mathematical odds favor a future Wildcat winning game MVP honors.
But don’t bet against Arizona-bound forward Aaron Gordon,who is looking to follow up his MVP performance in the McDonald’s All-American Game with another strong showing in Brooklyn.
Just last week, the 6-foot-8 Gordon went for 24 points, including nine dunks, and eight rebounds to lead the West over the East, 110-99, at Chicago’s United Center.
This past week, Gordon was named California Mr. Basketball for the second straight season.
“He wants to be the best guy out there,” Tim Kennedy, Gordon’s coach at San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty and an assistant coach on the Jordan Brand West Team, told SNY.tv.
“Any game that he’s in, he wants to win. When we’re scrimmaging there, he takes it personally. He hates to lose. So that’s what you love as a coach and that’s what I love coaching because he’ll find a way to win. He’ll just have that huge imprint on the game, defensively and offensively.”
The West team features Gordon along with Duke-bound forward Jabari Parker, Florida-bound point guard Kasey Hill, Indiana-bound forwards Noah Vonleh and Troy Williams and three Kentucky commits in Dakari Johnson, James Young and Marcus Lee, among others.
After practice Thursday, Gordon stayed extra to shoot jumpers with Kennedy.
“He’s just a hard working guy that’s going to keep on getting better,” Kennedy said. “He’s not satisfied and his jump shot is just going to continue to get better. They gotta kick him out of the gym. He loves to be in there working on his game.
“But the one thing they talk about is his energy, his motor. And he just wants to win, he just wants to find a way to win.”
And if he were to win MVP honors for the second straight national all-star game, Gordon would solidify himself as one of the best prep stars in recent memory.
“I think it’s nice because he’s doing it on a national stage where we’ve kind of seen that all along so it’s nothing new for us,” Kennedy said. “So I’m glad he’s put it on to a national audience where they can see how special a talent he is.”
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.