"Everyone on press row gets it. We are all watching something very special." --- MaxPreps.com's Mitch Stephens via Twitter, 9:25 p.m.SACRAMENTO, Calif. –
Given his accomplishments, it would be understandable if Aaron Gordon
was "over" the high school basketball experience, dreaming of taking his game to the college level and beyond.
He won his second CIF Division II state title Friday night at Power Balance Pavilion, making it a memorable evening with 33 points and 20 rebounds as Archbishop Mitty (San Jose)
dominated La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad)
78-57. His 20 boards were one shy of the championship game record he tied last season as a sophomore.
And that's really just the opening line on an extensive basketball resume. The versatile 6-foot-8 junior won a gold medal last summer with USA Basketball's developmental national team at the FIBA Americas Championship and runs with one of the nation's most high-profile club teams.
Washington's Lorenzo Romar and Oregon's Dana Altman were among the college coaches in attendance Friday to subtly court the future McDonald's All-American. He could start for both teams right now. Make that star
for both teams right now.
With a year of high school left and little to prove, could it be time for Gordon to follow in the footsteps of former Bay Area standouts Brandon Ashley
and Dominic Artis
? Ashley and Artis were teammates of Gordon's last summer with the Oakland Soldiers and spent their senior seasons at Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
That's not likely to happen with Gordon, who seems determined to leave a lasting mark on California high school basketball.
"I want to be able to do this with the rings," Gordon said, holding up three fingers he hopes to decorate with state championship rings. "That's my motivation."
Gordon was too good to take your eyes off Friday night against La Costa Canyon, and that's pretty much the way he's been all season despite battling mononucleosis in December and January. He dunked at will, drilled a 3-pointer, brought the ball up the court on most possessions, rebounded like Kenneth Faried and locked down San Diego State-bound Matt Shrigley
He even illegally alley-ooped the ball to himself for a slam. The referees were apparently mesmerized – it counted.
And he did it all in very unselfish fashion. There's no hint of entitlement. No chest-pounding . Mean mugging the officials was saved for appropriate occasions. He was genuinely excited – borderline giddy – about his team's accomplishments following the game.
"This was by far our best all-around game all year," Gordon said, pointing out that Mitty (31-3) beat Northern California's state championship representatives in Division I (Sheldon) and Division III (Sacred Heart Cathedral).
"I never saw that coming," Archbishop Mitty head coach Tim Kennedy said of the lopsided victory. "I think the first thing that kind of set the tone was Aaron on Shrigley. He made it really difficult for him to get scores."
Gordon – ranked No. 5 and likely to rise in MaxPreps.com's Class of 2013 Top 100 – was up for the challenge of shutting down Shrigley, La Costa Canyon's 6-6 senior wing.
"During practice we had a lot of people playing his role on the scout team," Gordon said. "Coach Kennedy even jumped in there and played Shrigley and gave me good looks. I was prepared for anything. I was prepared for Shrigley to come out and bust me for 40 points, so I just tried to lock him up as much as I could."
Gordon's next challenge will likely come on a global stage.
He's a virtual shoo-in to earn a roster spot for USA Basketball's U17 World Championship team this summer, taking him to Lithuania. Then it will be back to Mitty in an attempt to help the Monarchs become the first three-peat winner in California's Division II since Tyson Chandler led Dominguez (Compton)
to three in a row from 1999-2001.