Arizona basketball notes: Goodbye Gordon?
Arizona men’s basketball freshman forward Aaron Gordon is expected to announce today whether or not he is planning on declaring for the June NBA Draft.
It is widely believed the 6-foot-9 18-year-old will decide to make the professional leap. Yahoo! and ESPN reported Monday that they believe Gordon will enter the draft.
Gordon is projected by most to be selected by a team with one of the first 10 picks. If he is, he is guaranteed to earn anywhere between $4 and $8 million during the first two years of his rookie NBA contract.
Arizona junior guard Nick Johnson is not projected as a high NBA draft pick. Most believe he will fall into the second round, but it is speculated that he will also enter the draft in June. ESPN reported that Johnson is likely to enter the draft.
There is no set date yet for when or if he will announce his decision but the deadline to declare is April 27.
New Kadeem honored
Arizona junior college signee Kadeem Allen was named to the first-team NJCAA All-American roster for the second consecutive year on Thursday, and on Monday he was named Spalding NJCAA Men’s Basketball Player of the Year.
Allen is a 6-foot-3 guard at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kan., and is a native of Wilmington, N.C. This past season he averaged 25.9 points and 7.21 rebounds per game.
Baruch haba Rondae
Arizona freshman forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson posted a picture on Instagram with a caption announcing he has pledged Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi, just in time for Passover.
Since being posted at around midnight Monday morning, the photo has received more than 1,800 likes.
If this is more than just a gimmick, it’s not only good news for AEPI brothers — who will likely never lose another intramural basketball game — but also for Wildcat basketball fans.
Rumors have recently surfaced that Hollis-Jefferson is leaning toward entering the draft. But this could be a sign that he won’t be saying lehitraot until at least next June.
Arizona head coach Sean Miller had a large recruiting class this year, probably because he figured Gordon, Johnson and maybe another player would leave for the NBA. But Wednesday is the start of the spring signing period and the Wildcats are expected to add one more player: Serbian 7-foot Dusan Ristic.
Ristic, who played high school basketball in Kansas, made a verbal commitment to the Wildcats in early March, but has been leaning toward Arizona for a while. With likely two 7-foot players, plus 6-foot-8 Brandon Ashley on next year’s roster, it will be interesting to see if freshman forward Zach Peters decides to stay at the UA.
Arizona began the renovation of McKale Center on Monday.
Arizona basketball tweeted pictures of construction workers tearing out seats.
The cost of phase one of the process could reach a total of $80 million. The renovation includes, but is not limited to, new locker rooms and training facilities and no more yellow seats.
—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella