Men’s Basketball Pre-Draft Notebook

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TUCSON, Ariz. Former Arizona stars Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson are set to begin their professional careers on Thursday night, as both are expected to be chosen in the NBA Draft at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The draft will be televised on ESPN and WatchESPN, with coverage beginning at 4 p.m. MST.

Arizona Draft History
Arizona has produced 65 NBA Draft picks since 1948 … The Wildcats have had 36 players drafted since 1988, tied with Duke and Kentucky for the most nationally over that timeframe … UA has had at least one player selected in 21 of the last 26 NBA Drafts, including 16 first-round choices and 11 lottery picks … Nine of UA’s last 11 first-round selections have been lottery picks … Four of UA’s last six overall selections have been first-rounders … The Wildcats have produced a total of 18 first-round picks in program history … A dozen Arizona underclassmen have entered the draft early and been selected since 1991: Brian Williams (1991), Mike Bibby (1998), Gilbert Arenas (2001), Richard Jefferson (2001), Michael Wright (2001), Andre Iguodala (2004), Marcus Williams (2007), Jerryd Bayless (2008), Chase Budinger (2009), Jordan Hill (2009), Derrick Williams (2011) and Grant Jerrett (2013) … Should both Gordon and Johnson be drafted on Thursday, they will be the fourth and fifth UA players drafted in the Miller Era, joining 2011 second-overall selection Derrick Williams and 2013 draftees Solomon Hill (23rd) and Grant Jerrett (40th) … Arizona has had two first-round picks in the last three drafts (Williams in 2011, Hill in 2013) and four first-round selections since 2008 … There have been 17 occasions on which at least two Arizona players have been drafted in the same year, including 10 times since 1988.

Duo Shines at Combine
Both Gordon and Johnson have long been lauded for their athletic abilities, and those qualities were on full display at May’s NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.

Both former Wildcats were among the top 10 overall players at the event in the lane agility, with Gordon leading his position group and Johnson ranking third in his grouping.

Lane Agility
1.      Zach LaVine                     PG             10.42
2.      Dante Exum                     SG             10.75
3.      Jordan Clarkson               PG             10.76
4.      Aaron Craft                      PG             10.78
5.      Nik Stauskas                    SG             10.79
6.      Nick Johnson                  SG             10.80
7.      Aaron Gordon                 PF/C           10.81
8.      Marcus Smart                   PG             11.82
9.      Kendall Williams               PG             10.83
10.     DeAndre Kane                  PG             10.95

Gordon was head and shoulders above the entire field in the shuttle run, posting the fastest time of any player at the Combine.

Shuttle Run
1.      Aaron Gordon                 PF/C           2.76
2.      Zach LaVine                     PG             2.80
3.      Tyler Ennis                       PG             2.84

Both Gordon and Johnson finished in the top 11 overall, and second among their respective position groups, in the standing vertical testing.

Standing Vertical
1.      Markel Brown                   SG             36.5
        Glenn Robinson III            SF              36.5
3.      Cleanthony Early              SF              34.0
4.      Jahii Carson                     PG             33.5
         Nick Johnson                  SG             33.5
         Zach LaVine                     PG             33.5
7.      Jordan Clarkson               PG             33.0
        Cory Jefferson                 PF/C           33.0
        K.J. McDaniels                 SF              33.0
        Marcus Smart                   PG             33.0
11.     Aaron Gordon                 PF/C           32.5 

The max vertical testing also proved to be a showcase of UA athleticism, with Johnson tying for third overall and Gordon posting the best PF/C height to rank ninth overall. Gordon’s mark of 39.0 inches was the third-highest by a player in the PF/C group in the history of combine.

Max Vertical
1.      Markel Brown                   SG             43.5
        Jahii Carson                     PG             43.5
3.      Nick Johnson                  SG             41.5
         Zach LaVine                     PG             41.5
        Glenn Robinson III            SF              41.5
6.      Cleanthony Early              SF              40.0
7.      Thanasis Antetokounmpo SF              39.5
        Deonte Burton                  PG             39.5
9.      Aaron Gordon                 PF/C           39.0
10.     Jordan Clarkson               PG             38.5

About Aaron Gordon
Named a third-team All-American by the Sporting News as a freshman … A finalist for the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Year Award and was named Tisdale National Freshman of the Week on March 4, 2014 … Honored by the USBWA as an All-District IX pick and the NABC as a second-team All-District 20 selection … Became the seventh UA player to earn Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors … Named first-team All-Pac-12 and to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team … Tabbed for all-tournament teams at the NIT Season Tip-Off and the Pac-12 Tournament … Set UA freshman records with 303 rebounds – which also ranked 10th on the program’s single-season list – and 38 games started … Finished the season ranked second on UA’s freshman chart in minutes played (1,187), third in field goals (189), fourth in free throw attempts (180), fifth in blocks (39) and eighth in points (470) … Started all 38 games, averaging 12.4 points, a team-high 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 blocks in 31.2 minutes per contest.

About Nick Johnson
Named a first-team All-American by the Sporting News, NABC, USBWA and Wooden Award, as well as a second-team selection by the AP, as a junior in 2013-14 … A finalist for all three major National Player of the Year Award – Naismith, Robertson and Wooden – as a junior … Earned USBWA District IX Player of the Year and first-team NABC All-District 20 accolades in 2013-14 … Became the seventh UA player to earn Pac-12 Player of the Year honors … A two-time Pac-12 All-Defensive Team member (2013, 2014) … Named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team in 2012 … A 2014 Pac-12 Tournament All-Tournament Team selection … Named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2013 NIT Season Tip-Off … Finished his career ranked 24th on UA’s scoring list with 1,333 points … Started 38 games in 2013-14 to tie the program’s single-season record and played 1,255 minutes as a junior to rank fourth on UA’s single-season chart … His 68 steals as a sophomore in 2012-13 rank eighth on the program’s single-season chart.

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