The painful hits kept coming as the final seconds wound down in Arizona's 64-63, Elite Eight overtime loss to the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday. Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears reports that forward Aaron Gordon will leave school after his freshman season and enter the 2014 NBA Draft.
Barring a stunning change of mind, freshman Aaron Gordon has likely played his last game at Arizona and is headed to the NBA, sources said.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) March 30, 2014
That Spears went out with the news at this time meant he's been sitting on it, but there's of course a rare chance that the freshman forward, who finished with eight points, 18 rebounds and two blocks, could take the Elite Eight loss hard enough where he returns.
It seems unlikely. Gordon's family has gone on record this year by saying they expect their son to leave school after this season.
After the game, Gordon was reportedly in tears in the Arizona locker room, but he said he hasn't made a final decision on his future. It would make sense that he'll take a few days to get a firm grasp on his emotions before settling either way.
Aaron Gordon says he doesn't know if this was his last game w/ the #azwildcats. Will make an educated decision— MarkMcCluneCBS5 (@MarkMcCluneCBS5) March 30, 2014
Gordon's final game against the Badgers showed everything he can and can't do at the next level. Gordon went 3-for-11 from the floor and missed his first eight shots at the rim.
Aaron Gordon has 1 point and has missed all 7 of his shots at under-8 timeout. His shot chart with alot of red pic.twitter.com/lHD7W5JGpg— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 30, 2014
He did, however, show signs of growing as a jump-shooter, hitting a three early in overtime to answer a UW three. Gordon was dominant on the glass, moreso than his first three NCAA Tournament games where he was outrebounded by SDSU's Josh Davis and Weber State's Joel Polomboy.
Gordon was especially killer on defense -- no surprise there -- seeing time against 7-foot center Frank Kaminsky and also switching onto point guard Traevon Jackson on the Badgers' final possession of regulation. Gordon forced a missed jumper than kept Arizona tied at 54 points until overtime.
Aaron Gordon pick and roll defense is a bundle of fun https://t.co/pg29wQHce8— Tyler Lashbrook (@lashy) March 30, 2014
So while we wait for official word to come down, the grieving process as Arizona finishes 33-5 on the year includes worry that other players could leave. Nick Johnson is projected as a mid-second-round pick by Draft Express, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson often looked like the best player on the court for the Wildcats.