Wildcats Gordon, Johnson declare for NBA Draft - Tucson News Now

Wildcats Gordon, Johnson declare for NBA Draft

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Aaron Gordon, Coach Sean Miller and Nick Johnson meet the press at McKale Center. Aaron Gordon, Coach Sean Miller and Nick Johnson meet the press at McKale Center.
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Arizona Wildcats basketball players Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson made it official today, announcing that they are leaving the team to declare for the NBA Draft.

They made the announcement today at a press conference at McKale Center.

"From 1st grade I wanted to compete at highest level and that's what I'm going to do," Gordon said.

Gordon is a projected lottery pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Gordon led the team on the boards and ranked second in both scoring and blocks this season with an average of 12.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 blocks per game in 38 contests. He also posted a team-high of eight double-doubles, good for sixth in the Pac-12, and shot 49.5 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from beyond the arc.

He had 303 rebounds this year, the most in program history by a freshman in more than 40 years, and tenth-highest total in program history. Gordon was named a third-team All-American by the Sporting News, first-team All-Pac-12 and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.

Coach Sean Miller said, "People like this don't come around too often. In Aaron's case, it's far too short."

About Johnson, Miller said, "Nick reminds me a lot of where Solomon Hill was last year. They share similarities. You fall in love with a guy like that."

Johnson was named a first-team All-American by the NABC, Sporting News, USBWA and Wooden Award; and a second-team selection by the AP. He was named Pac-12 Player of the Year, first-team All-Pac-12, USBWA District IX Player of the Year and first-team NABC All-District 20. He was the Most Outstanding Player at the NIT Season Tip-Off, a member of the Pac-12 Tournament All-Tournament Team, and was named a finalist for all three major National Player of the Year awards.

Sophomore center Kaleb Tarczewski told Tucson News Now's Dave Cooney via text message, "I'm on a mission. 2015: Indianapolis." Next year's NCAA tournament championship will be held in Indianapolis.

Miller confirmed freshman forward, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, as well as Brandon Ashley and Tarczewski will remain with the Wildcats.

Since 1988, 36 players have been drafted from the Arizona men's basketball program. UA is tied with Duke and Kentucky for the most draft picks in the nation over that time span.

The Wildcats ended the season with a 33-5 record, a Pac-12 regular-season title and an Elite Eight appearance.

For more details from today's press conference, follow Dave Cooney (@Cooney247) and David Kelly (@DavidKellyTNN) on Twitter.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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