Aaron Gordon steals the show at McDonald's All-America game
CHICAGO -- It was a pretty good 48 hours for Aaron Gordon. A day after the five-star small forward committed to Arizona, he put on a show at the McDonald's All-American Game, earning MVP honors.
Gordon scored a game-high 24 points, along with eight rebounds, two assists and two steals, delighting the crowd with a slew of monstrous dunks that may have caused many to reconsider Gordon's fifth-place finish in the Powerade Jam Fest on Monday. His highlight-reel performance helped the West cruise to a 110-99 victory over the East.
Gordon broke a 30-30 tie midway through the first half with a dunk, sparking a 13-2 run that gave the West the lead for good. The East closed within four points late in the second half but never managed to claw its way back.
Gordon began his personal dunkfest less than three minutes into the game and finished his 24 minutes of involvement with a powerful finish on an alley-oop from Nigel Williams-Goss. In between were a double-clutch reverse jam and a 360 dunk, among other rim-rattling slams. Just about the only play that didn't go well for Gordon was an attempted through-the-legs dunk on a fast break on which Gordon's finish clanged off the front rim.
The phenomenal performance from the future Wildcat stole the spotlight from local sensation Jabari Parker. Parker, the No. 3 recruit in the nation, easily drew the loudest applause from the crowd in his hometown Chicago.
"It was like homecoming," Parker said. "That's all I wanted to do: Be there and represent the city of Chicago."
The Duke-bound recruit struggled with his shot, hitting on just four of 13 attempts for 10 points, but attacked the boards to rack up eight rebounds and played impressive defense, picking up two steals and two blocks.
Andrew Wiggins backed up his reputation as the top recruit in his draft class, leading the East with 19 points and four rebounds. Wiggins demonstrated the depth of his skill set, stroking midrange jumpers and getting to the rim for layups and dunks despite often being guarded by Parker.
"Going against Jabari is just the best going against the best," said Wiggins, who is still undecided on his college team. "I look forward to doing it in the future."
In the exhibition format, all players saw significant time on the floor. Here are several players in addition to Gordon, Parker and Wiggins, who shined Wednesday night.
Andrew and Aaron Harrison: The twin guards paired for a nice performance for the West, combining for 16 points and nine assists. "They are really, really tough guards," Gordon said. "They know how to play the game of basketball when it comes down to crunch time. You really want them on your side."
The Harrisons hooked up for an early alley-oop, and Andrew scored from all spots on the floor, showing off his midrange and outside jumper.
Dakari Johnson: Johnson led the six Kentucky-bound McDonald's All-Americans with 12 points to go along with five rebounds. The 6-foot-10-inch center dominated in the paint and showed off some nice post moves to get to the rim.
Bobby Portis Jr.: The future Arkansas center battled well with his counterpart Johnson in the first half, scoring 10 points in 12 minutes by halftime. He finished with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting.
Julius Randle: Randle was a force on the glass, leading the East with seven rebounds. The Kentucky commit also demonstrated a solid ability to finish inside, scoring 11 points. He threw down an extraordinary reverse dunk on a lob from Kasey Hill.
Wayne Selden Jr.: Selden scored nine points in the second half to finish the game with 13. He showed strength cutting to the hoop, shaking off contact to finish layups. The future Jayhawk also had one of the top dishes of the game, slotting a bounce pass through a narrow window to hit Demetrius Jackson in stride on a fast break.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: The other Arizona recruit in the game didn't dominate the stat sheet like Gordon did but found subtle ways to make contributions. He had a great assist to Anthony Barber and played high-intensity defense, forcing a backcourt violation early in the second half. Hollis-Jefferson finished with nine points, two rebounds and two assists.