From the moment Aaron Gordon said that he was signing with Arizona, there was widespread speculation that he would spend only one season in the desert.
Tuesday, the speculation became reality.
Gordon, largely viewed as the most talented basketball player to come from the San Jose area, announced in a news conference on the Arizona campus that he is entering the NBA draft.
The decision takes the 6-foot-9 forward one step closer to fulfilling a childhood dream. The draft is June 26.
Gordon thanked Arizona coach Sean Miller, the coaching staff and his teammates before stating his intentions.
"I love these guys so much," said Gordon, a former Archbishop Mitty star. "But at the end of the day, I need to make the decision that's right for Aaron Gordon, just like before I came to Arizona. I have a great foundation, my parents, my mom and my dad, my brother and sister. I've talked to them a lot. I talked to the coaching staff and my players and made sure everything was good to go.
"From about the first grade, I have wanted to compete at the highest level. So that's what I intend on doing next year. I am going to go to the NBA."
Gordon said last spring that he had hoped to go straight from high school to the NBA. But rules prevented that goal from becoming a possibility.
So Gordon set his sights on trying to win a national championship with Arizona.
The Pacific-12 Conference freshman of the year helped lead the Wildcats to the NCAA tournament West Regional final before the team's season ended with a crushing 64-63 loss to Wisconsin in overtime.
Gordon averaged 12.4 points and eight rebounds per game, shooting 49.5 percent from the field. He also was lauded for his defense. But he continued to struggle from the free-throw line, shooting 42.2 percent.
ESPN analyst Chad Ford has Gordon rated No. 6 on his draft board, behind Kansas' Andrew Wiggins, Duke's Jabari Parker, Kansas' Joel Embiid, Australian Dante Exum and Kentucky's Julius Randle.
On the ESPN board, Gordon is described as a "freak athlete" caught between a small forward and a power forward.
Gordon made his decision alongside his Arizona teammate, Nick Johnson, the Pac-12 player of the year. Johnson, a junior, also announced that he is entering the NBA draft.
"Today is nothing but a good day for our program," Miller said. "These are two guys from great families that took time to get the facts from the NBA, as much as you can at this point, have all the information and make the best decision for them.
"The only thing I'll tell you, it's bittersweet because these two guys, people like them, don't come along very often. In Aaron's case, it's far too short. You feel like you're just getting started and then you wave goodbye."
Despite the short stay, Gordon said he learned a whole lot from the experience with Miller.
"I understand the game of basketball better than I did a year previously," Gordon said. "We have such great basketball minds on our coaching staff. It helped me tremendously, understanding little intricacies to the game, how to play the game better."
Asked if he had a preference where he would want to play professionally, Gordon said, "I've been a Lakers fan. But I want to go on to any team that I am going to contribute and I am going to help our team win. I don't really care where I'll go."