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December 28, 2011

Gordon is on a different level



SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Toward the middle of the contest between St. Bernard (Playa Del Ray, Calif.) and St. Thomas (Houston, Texas) a 6-foot-7 player entered the gym at Torrey Pines High School with the rest of his team. That's when the buzz started to build.

By the time San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty had taken the floor for its matchup with Compton (Calif.) High, the crowd had grown to reach a near standing-room only level. While the people taking in the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic were there to see one of Northern California's premier teams, they were also there to see the Monarchs' star player - and Aaron Gordon did not leave the crowd disappointed.

The five-star prospect showcased all the skills he has become known for, including his seemingly never-ending supply of energy. Even with other notable recruits taking part in the contest, it was clear from the get-go that this was going to be Gordon's time to shine.

Maybe paying the most attention to the nation's sixth-ranked recruit for the 2013 class was the large group of college coaches assembled inside the gym at Torrey Pines High School, including Arizona's Emanuel "Book" Richardson.

As one of the nation's most high-profile junior recruits, Gordon has received plenty of interest programs throughout the nation. But right now it's shaping up to be a race between the Wildcats and Washington.

Gordon got started right away with a quick 11 points, with each one of his baskets drawing a roar from the crowd. The thing that stuck out about the talented junior was his ability to not only get to the basket, but to really not be limited in on the court in too many ways.

He was bringing the ball up the floor on many occasions for Mitty and he showed good handles in the half court.

Gordon has long said that he wants to play on the wing even with the size that he possesses. With what he was showing Tuesday night, there is no reason to believe that he can't get it done at the small forward position at the next level - especially with the coaching he will undoubtedly receive wherever he chooses to attend college.

For a while Gordon teased the eager crowd as he just couldn't find the right timing for the monster dunks that he's become known for. But finally he broke through in the second half and sent the crowd into an even bigger frenzy each time he hammered the ball through the basket.

Along with a cold, the only other thing to slow down Gordon was a mysterious cut on his cheek, which the Archbishop Mitty standout said he was unsure of how it happened. The cut forced him to miss an extended period of time, which Compton used to its advantage to make a comeback.

When Gordon returned, however, he once again put the team on his back and finished with 25 points in explosive fashion. One other aspect that stands out about Gordon's game is his willingness to never quit on plays.

There were numerous times when he would rebound his own misses, or his teammates misses, and continue to battle underneath until the Monarchs came away with a score.

It's that combination of talent and work ethic that has UA, among others, making a big push for the 2013 star.

One expert said after the game, "If you wanted to know what Blake Griffin looked like in high school, that's it."

With what Gordon was showing on Tuesday night, he definitely fits that mold.

Matt MorenoMatt Moreno
GOAZCATS.com Senior Recruiting Editor

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