Arizona alumni Aaron Gordon and T.J. McConnell shining bright in the NBA Playoffs

It always warms Arizona fans' hearts when they see their favorite Arizona alumni shine in the pros, and right now, it's former Wildcat teammates T.J. McConnell and Aaron Gordon making headlines.
Wisconsin v Arizona
Wisconsin v Arizona / Jeff Gross/GettyImages

While they may not be the headlining stars on their respective teams, two former Arizona Wildcats are playing huge roles for the Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers in the 2024 NBA playoffs - Aaron Gordon and T.J. McConnell.

Aaron Gordon

Gordon has been a force for the top-seeded Nuggets, averaging 15.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists through nine playoff games in 2024. After Denver dropped the first two games of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Gordon was instrumental in willing his team to a pair of victories to even the series.

In Game 4, the athletic forward had a night to remember, shooting a blistering 11-of-12 from the field (92%), including a perfect 2-for-2 from 3-point range and 3-for-3 at the free throw line. Gordon finished with 27 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 blocks in the win.

When asked about his selfless play, Gordon credited teammate and three-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic for instilling that team-first mentality:

"If a 3-time MVP can do it, I can do it too."

Aaron Gordon

T.J. McConnell

On the other side of the bracket, McConnell's gritty Pacers find themselves in the same 2-2 series predicament against the New York Knicks after also dropping the first two games. The scrappy point guard has stuffed the stat sheet in the playoffs, averaging 10.1 points, 4.8 assists, and 2.4 rebounds per game.

McConnell was at his pesky best earning a double-double in Game 4, dishing out 10 assists to go along with 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals. The Pacers' energizer bunny epitomizes the blue-collar, no-quit attitude that has made Indiana a tough out all season long.

While neither Gordon nor McConnell are the superstar centerpieces of their clubs, their complementary play has been crucial to their teams' postseason success. Wildcat fans have to be proud seeing two of their alumni making significant impacts and leaving it all on the floor in pursuit of an NBA championship.

dark. ICYMI. TJM. Former Wildcat TJ McConnell helps propel Pacers in win over Bucks

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