Arizona’s incoming recruit Aaron Gordon will represent the United States in the 2013 FIBA U-19 World Championship starting next week in Prague, Czech Republic.
The final cuts were announced Monday night and Gordon, one of the highest profile recruits to attend Arizona, will try to bring home the gold in the tournament from June 24-July 6.
The roster includes Washington-bound guard Nigel Williams-Goss of Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep and Arizona recruiting target Justise Winslow, a senior-to-be at St. Johns High School in Houston. Oregon guard Damyean Dotson was one of the final cuts.
UA sophomore forward Brandon Ashley and incoming recruit Rondae Hollis-Jefferson were cut from the team on Sunday.
Gordon becomes the fifth Wildcat to make the Team USA U-19 team. The other four are Khalid Reeves and Ed Stokes (teammates on the 1991 team), Michael Wright (1999) and Mustafa Shakur (2003). Shakur, similar to Gordon, played on the team after finishing his senior year in high school.
The five players are the most a Pac-12 school has produced. Believe it or not, ASU — not UCLA — is next with three: Jahii Carson (2011), Jamal Faulkner (1991), and former Pueblo High School guard Lafayette “Fat” Lever (1979)
Gordon has a history of Team USA involvement. He was part of the 2011 USA U16 FIBA Americas gold-medalist team, the 2013 USA Junior National Select Team that participated in the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit, and USA Basketball’s 2011-12 Developmental National Team.
By the time Gordon reaches Tucson in August he will have a wealth of experience nationally and internationally that was not the case for recruits 10 to 20 years ago. That is one more reason why Arizona fans should expect Gordon, a versatile player who said this week he can also play point guard, to be preparing for the NBA draft this time next year.
The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy asked Gordon (6-foot-8, 210 pounds) this week about comparisons between him and Los Angeles Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin.
“I think, I can play point guard and he can’t,” Gordon told DeCourcy. “He’s an incredible player; he’s the No. 1 pick. I can’t be too mad if people are comparing me to a No. 1 pick. But I can play point guard.”
Making the U-19 World Championship team is noteworthy.
A who’s who of college and NBA players have competed in the U-19 World Championships. Among them: Vince Carter (1995), Stephen Curry (2007), Larry Johnson (1987), Stephon Marbury (1995), Gary Payton (1987), Sam Perkins (1979), Klay Thompson (2009), Deron Williams (2003) and James Worthy (1979).
Gordon will also be coached by three of the more quality young coaches in college hoops: Florida’s Billy Donovan (the head coach) and assistants Shaka Smart of VCU and Tony Bennett of Virginia.