Column: Gordon's decision is an obvious one
Tyler Baker/ The Daily Wildcat
Aaron Gordon has a decision to make, but it’s as simple as a high percentage dunk, not as tough as a Gordon jump shot.
It’s obvious that Gordon should stay in school for another year and not enter the NBA Draft.
After Arizona’s 64-63 overtime loss to Wisconsin in the Elite Eight, Gordon told the media that he wasn’t sure yet about his decision.
“I have a great family and support system who will help me make a decision,” Gordon said.
Last weekend’s games were Gordon’s Arizona career in a nutshell: obvious talent, but lots of untapped potential.
In the loss to the Badgers, Gordon had 18 rebounds, eight points, two assists, two blocks and a steal. However, he was held scoreless most of the game, and he shot 3-for-11 from the field.
The mass of rebounds and his defensive talent — which doesn’t usually translate into box score elegance — was pivotal to the Wildcats’ making it to overtime. But if he had a remotely consistent offensive game, then Arizona would be in the Final Four.
It wasn’t his fault the Wildcats lost, six of those rebounds were offensive, but if it’s not a dunk, then there’s very little chance he can score — generally.
In the Sweet Sixteen win, he scored 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting. He was crucial in keeping Arizona’s season alive as junior guard Nick Johnson struggled offensively for most of the game.
A Photoshopped image of him on a milk carton saying “last seen in the Sweet Sixteen” was circulating among Arizona fans after the Elite Eight loss.
His inability to make free throws led Arizona head coach Sean Miller to substitute him out a few times late in games.
Wildcats fans cheer for him when he makes free throws to try to encourage him, and in post-game press conferences, Miller regularly defended his free throw shooting.
Miller and Gordon have said that his shooting woes are mental, that he hits them in practice. If Gordon jumps to the NBA, there’s very little chance he’ll be able to correct that. If he stays in college, he can work on his shooting during the off-season and in practices.
The NBA schedule is mostly games, so he can’t work out those kinks.
The Wildcats always praise Miller and call it a “player’s program.” The NBA drafts on potential and if you don’t work out, it kicks you to the curb like any other employee that doesn’t produce.
When someone with his talent air balls free throws, it is clearly a confidence thing, and if he goes to the NBA, struggles and gets sent to the D-League, that would be devastating to his self-esteem.
The NBA Draft is filled with future busts each year.
Former Wildcat Derrick Williams dominated at the end of his college career. He was a surefire star and was picked second overall in the 2011 draft, but the Timberwolves gave up on him after just over two seasons.
This year he averages 8.4 points and 4.2 rebounds a game and doesn’t have the obvious hole in his game.
Gordon is supremely talented. He should be a National Player of the Year and leading Arizona to a national championship, not just a defensive and rebounding specialist.
On the football field, junior Ka’Deem Carey ended his Arizona career by out-rushing the Doak Walker Award winner Andre Williams 169-75, and with almost that many UA records.
If Gordon leaves right now, his UA career will be a sad tale of what could have been.
—Follow James Kelley @JamesKelley520