Washington's Case for Aaron Gordon

Now that Washington's 2012-2013 season is complete, many will want to go back and dissect what went wrong. With one of the country's top prospects still out there in Aaron Gordon, I'm looking ahead. Gordon, a 6-foot-8, 215-pound forward from San Jose, Calif. is ranked the No. 2 power forward by Scout.com, and if he were to sign with UW would arguably be their biggest signee in school history.

The Top UW Signee Ever?: Abdul Gaddy was the No. 2 point guard behind John Wall in 2009 and Spencer Hawes was the No. 2 center ranked behind Ohio State's Greg Oden. But in many ways Gordon's signing could eclipse either Gaddy or Hawes because of the timing. Hawes showed up after back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances and Gaddy showed up in the middle of three NCAA Tournament runs. Now that the program has missed the Big Dance twice the inclusion of Gordon for 2013 - along with the possible return of C.J. Wilcox - would offer an immediate shot of adrenaline to a team looking for answers.

Room to Move In Now: There's no question a player of Gordon's stature and ability would be an instant impact player nearly everywhere he goes. That said, here's what Gordon faces at his position at each of his expected four finalists:
Arizona - Brandon Ashley, Grant Jarrett, Matt Korcheck, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (three players his class or one year ahead)
Kentucky - Nerlens Noel (expected to go pro but hasn't announced yet), Alex Poythress, Derek Willis, Julius Randle (All four in his class or one year ahead)
Oregon - Ben Carter, Jordan Bell, Cristiano Felicio (All three in his class or one year ahead)
Washington - Martin Breunig, Jernard Jarreau, Desmond Simmons (None in his class or one year ahead)
Just looking at those rosters, it's clear that Oregon and Washington are the two schools with the minimum impediments, so that should be something in their favor if looking at depth charts is anything that matters to Gordon at this point.

The Hawes Effect: When Spencer Hawes turned down North Carolina for Washington at the Seattle Prep gymnasium on October 5th, 2005, UW Hoops was rolling. The Huskies had just put together their first No. 1 seed season ever and were about to make another Sweet 16 run the following spring. The season average for attendance at Hec Ed was 8844; when Hawes showed up the following season average attendance shot up to 9911, the best-ever for UW. The next year, after Hawes left, the average dipped back down to 8762 per home game. The average attendance for home games this last season was 7937, down nearly 800 per game from the year before and the lowest for any Romar team since his first two years at Montlake. A Gordon signing would immediately boost season ticket sales and turn UW Basketball into a hot ticket again. It happened with Hawes and it would with Gordon.

Romar Puts 'Em In the Show: If Gordon has any reservations about playing with top players at UW or his pro prospects after life at Washington he should forget all about that. Lorenzo Romar has had 22 four and six five-star signees since he stepped on campus in 2002. Speaking of signees - Bobby Jones, Nate Robinson, Brandon Roy, Martell Webster, Jon Brockman, Spencer Hawes, Quincy Pondexter, Justin Holiday, Isaiah Thomas, Terrence Ross, and Tony Wroten have all played in the show since Romar began coaching at his alma mater - an average of one per season that he's been at Montlake.

NWG Can't Hurt: One of the reasons why Oregon has appeared on Gordon's short list is his connection with former Oakland Soldier Dominic Artis, the Ducks' explosive point guard. The Huskies have their own secret weapon in Nigel Williams-Goss, another Findlay Prep product like Artis that just happens to also be a McDonalds All-American this year with Gordon. The 6-foot-3 Williams-Goss made a name for himself this year for the Pilots in leading them to an undefeated season, beating No. 1 Montverde (Fla.) with a dagger three buzzer-beater. He scored 18 of his game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter to help erase an 18-point Montverde lead. He's been the Pilots' point guard during their current 42-game winning streak. It's pretty easy to see that if Gordon is looking to Artis to get him the ball at Oregon, he can rely on NWG to find him at UW and I suspect Gordon will get a preview to coming attractions during the McDonald's All-American game April 3 in Chicago - the same time Gordon expects to announce the school he'll play for.

Family Ties: Of the four programs vying for Gordon's John Hancock, Washington seems to have the inside track when it comes to family. Romar and Gordon's father Ed grew up in the same Los Angeles neighborhood and Romar has been a family friend as long. He went hard after Aaron's brother Drew, who was looking seriously at Washington before ultimately putting pen to paper with UCLA. This is what WildcatAuthority.com's Brad Allis said back on May 7, 2007 - the day Gordon made his decision for the Bruins - "Behind the scenes Washington has thought to be one of the leaders. Although the Huskies have recruited big men very well lately, they may not be loaded at the spot by 2008. Spencer Hawes will be gone and Jon Brockman will be a senior (if he is still around). The talk has been Lorenzo Romar has done a great job recruiting Gordon, and has especially made a great impression on his father. The fact that the Huskies play an up-tempo style will also benefit them." Gordon's Westwood career didn't go as planned and he ended up transferring to New Mexico. Common sense suggests that Gordon's family ties to UW could play a big role in where Aaron goes to school simply because the team that is the most successful in recruiting the parents traditionally stands the best chance of landing their son. And that leads to the final point in UW's favor...

Back To Where It All Began: Besides being a great Allman Brothers song, it could be the title to the story behind Aaron Gordon's recruitment. Evan Daniels was the first Scout analyst to get Gordon to talk about teams sticking out in his mind. The interview took place back nearly two years ago (WATCH HERE), but Washington was the first favorite school that came out of his mouth. "Romar is my boy," Gordon said when talking about UW at an AAU Tournament in Virginia. "I just love the way they play." If you are led to believe that basketball recruiting and football recruiting share common themes, one of them could be the idea of a prospect having early favorites, going through the process and then coming back full-circle to the first school that caught their fancy. If that's the case with Gordon, he could very easily come back to the first favorite he mentioned as a precocious prep sophomore - the Washington Huskies.

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