Top forward picks Ducks for official visit

Just days after Oakland Soldiers teammate Jabari Bird (Richmond, Calif./Salesian) confirmed that he will take an official visit to Oregon this fall, the top player on the West Coast announced that Dana Altman's program will get one of his official visits.

Five-star forward Aaron Gordon (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty) said today that he will definitely visit Oregon and Arizona in addition to Washington, who is thought to be the leader for his commitment.

Kentucky, Kansas and New Mexico remain in the hunt, but it's beginning to look as if the three Pac-12 schools have the upper hand.

Gordon is among three Northern California prospects that rank in the top 27 of the ESPN 100 for 2013. Fast-rising big man Marcus Lee (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley), joins Bird and Gordon as the top targets of Dana Altman's staff.

The three teammates play for the Oakland Soldiers AAU program that also produced current Ducks freshman point guard, Dominic Artis.

Gordon, who checks in at No. 6 in the ESPN 100, has yet to set a visit date but has been in touch with Artis and Altman in hopes of learning more about the Oregon program.

Unlike his brother Drew, who made an early commitment to UCLA and later transferred to New Mexico, the younger Gordon wants to play his recruitment out and see where things stand in the spring.

Going up against powerhouse programs like Arizona, Kansas and Kentucky is a tough task for any basketball staff, but the Ducks have a strong familiarity with the elite AAU squad. The Ducks are currently recruiting three other Soldiers players in the class of 2013. Twins Tyrell and Tyree Robinson (San Diego, Calif./Lincoln) and fellow guard Darin Johnson (Sacramento, Calif./Sheldon) also spend the offseason playing with the Oakland-based program.

The Ducks are angling to get Gordon on campus at the same time as the Robinson twins, who are also being heavily recruited by the Ducks football program. The feeling is that if they can get the group on campus together during a football weekend, the atmosphere on campus will assist Artis in trying to persuade his former running mates to join him next year.

The Ducks would love to have any of the AAU teammates join the program in 2013, but Gordon is undoubtedly the top target.

Gordon is the type of player that can turn the tide of a program even if his college career only lasts one or two years.

Dana Altman and his staff have a real chance to make a huge splash on the basketball recruiting circuit by pulling one or more of the Northern California stars. If Gordon is among them, it would be a major turning point for the Ducks basketball program as they try and compete with the top programs out west.