Coast 2 Coast Hoops
Losing a pair of four year contributors like Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom isn’t easy. Those guys were battle tested warriors, they were the heart and soul of the last four years of Arizona basketball.
But as the old adage goes, Arizona doesn’t rebuild, they reload. Between 2013 commits Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Aaron Gordon, Sean Miller has reloaded in a major way.
A lot has been made of each player’s dynamic individual talent. Hollis-Jefferson is a do-it-all point forward with elite defensive skills, and Gordon is a freakishly athletic SF/PF hybrid.
Both are top shelf recruits, but it’s not their talent that makes them the perfect fit at Arizona. It’s their personalities.
Hollis-Jefferson, with what seems like a perpetual smile, is an intense defender but carries a plucky, upbeat attitude. He does a little bit of everything on the court, and he’s a guy that brings people together in the locker room. In other words, he’s the prototypical glue-guy; he fills that essential role which all good teams seem to have.
Many of the games greatest coaches have championed the idea that players have to play for the guys they go to battle with, that at the end of the game and the end of the day, you laid it all out there for your teammates.
That’s not something that just happens from playing together over time, it takes the right combination of personalities and character traits. Unlike so many recruits at the highest level, Hollis-Jefferson’s greatest strength may be what he adds to the overall team dynamic, not his individual talent. He’s the kind of player a team needs if the whole is to be greater than the sum of its parts.
And while Hollis-Jefferson inspires with his likability and magnetic personality, Gordon does it with intensity.
A fiery competitor, Gordon always brings a high energy motor to the court. His intensity is infectious. Whether it’s a monster dunk or a sky-walking block, Gordon is the type of player and person that teams feed off of. He’s the type of player that will, on numerous occasions, blow the roof off McKale with his electric style of play.
And it’s not just the crowd that gets ignited by Gordon’s incendiary abilities. He possesses the type of game changing athleticism that sparks runs and instills others with confidence. Don’t be surprised to see Arizona rattle off runs next year in the midst of some jaw dropping plays from Gordon.
So while much of the story has been about how talented Hollis-Jefferson and Gordon are, it’s noteworthy that Miller hit an even bigger home run with these recruits when it comes to character.