- Myron Medcalf, ESPN Staff Writer
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Aaron Gordon earned MVP honors for the national U19 team that won a gold medal at the FIBA world championships in July. The No. 4 recruit in the 2013 class (per RecruitingNation) anchors Sean Miller’s incoming recruiting class.
The accolades that Gordon has earned before his first college basketball game, including an appearance in the McDonald’s All-American game, have magnified the buzz.
His powerful dunks and intensity have even fueled comparisons to NBA all-star Blake Griffin.
But Sean Miller says those comparisons are “unfair.”
“I think it’s unfair to put that on Aaron,” he told ESPN.com this week. “I don’t know if he’s as much of a post player as Blake Griffin is. Aaron might not even be as big physically as Blake Griffin. ... But he does some other things that are much different. He’s much more fluid away from the basket entering his freshman year, I think if you would make that comparison at equal time, than Blake Griffin [was]. The one thing they share is athleticism in and around the basket or in transition.”
I’m as guilty as anyone. I’ve called him Blake Griffin Lite a few times.
Few athletes play with the level of force that Griffin and Gordon employ when they’re on the floor.
But I agree with Miller that Griffin might not be the best comparison. At the next level, Gordon could be more of a hybrid than a true post guy.
When asked about the comparisons during a recent interview with Sporting News, Gordon said they’re inaccurate because he’s more versatile.
From Mike DeCourcy:
When asked what he thinks of the common comparisons of his game to that of NBA star Blake Griffin -- both are big, strong and phenomenally athletic -- Gordon answers, “I think, I can play point guard and he can’t.”
“He’s an incredible player; he’s the No. 1 pick,” Gordon said. “I can’t be too mad if people are comparing me to a No. 1 pick. But I can play point guard.”
The bottom line is that Gordon is one of most talented prospects in his class. And he’s also its most intriguing player.
Gordon, Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski will comprise one of the nation’s most talented frontcourts.
The freshman will have time to validate the hype in what could be a brief stay at the collegiate level. But first, he has to be a great teammate as that trio balances touches and space on the floor.
But Miller doesn’t think that will be a problem for Gordon.
“[His U19 team MVP] was more about his unselfishness and his talent,” Miller said. “They combine to make him a very unique player. What he does, he does a little bit of everything. And he can really handle the ball. He’s an unselfish passer, he’s great in transition. He can rebound at both ends. From a defensive perspective, it’s like he’s an upperclassman. He can guard a variety of players. And he takes that part of his game seriously. ... I’m almost describing an older player and yet Aaron just turned 18 years old.”