Aaron Gordon had a career like no other in the annals of Central Coast Section boys basketball.
The Archbishop Mitty star led his teams to four CCS, three West Catholic Athletic League, three Northern California and two state championships, finishing his career as the section's all-time leader in points and rebounds.
He also is the Mercury News player of the year for the third consecutive season.
But for everything the 6-foot-8, Arizona-bound Gordon accomplished in a Mitty uniform -- the records, the championships, the straight-to-YouTube dunks -- he still feels he came up a little short.
Gordon propelled an entirely new supporting cast to a championship in the inaugural CCS Open Division playoffs
But when Gordon looks back at his senior season, he said, he'll always think, "I wish I would have prepared better for that last game."
In an interview five days after that last game, a 50-45 loss to Mater Dei in the Open Division state final, Gordon was still thinking about the outcome that prevented him from ending his storied high school career with the third consecutive state championship he so badly wanted.
"I know that if I ever get a golden opportunity like that, I guarantee that I will prepare myself 100 percent better," said Gordon, who had 22 points and 20 rebounds in the March 23 game.
That loss aside, Gordon built a résumé unparalleled in the CCS as he finished with section records of 2,386 points and 1,666 rebounds.
"I think he's the best player ever from the CCS," said Mark Tennis, longtime editor of CalHiSports.com, while acknowledging area standouts such as Jeremy Lin, Mark McNamara, Kurt Rambis and Dennis Awtrey. "Losing to Mater Dei is no slouch."
Gordon's passion for greatness and distain for losing are no act. "He loves the game so much that he takes it hard," Mitty coach Tim Kennedy said.
The love is so sincere that Gordon's father, Ed, believes his son will coach once his playing career ends. "His basketball IQ is extremely high for his age," said Ed Gordon, who played at San Diego State.
Gordon used his IQ and talent to excel even higher as the competition stiffened. In his final six high school games, Gordon averaged 22.3 points and 20.8 rebounds.
And he did it with a joy reminiscent of the smile his idol, Magic Johnson, brought to the court.
Gordon considers himself a regular high school student, but few high school athletes experience the celebrity treatment Gordon receives. After games, the basketball court at Mitty became a portrait studio as Gordon accepted all requests for pictures.
It was a perfect frame for Gordon until the closing act against Mater Dei.
"I wish I could go back," he said. "If I had played a little bit better, I strongly believe we would have won that game."
For more on Gordon's record-setting high school career, go to mercurynews.com/high-school-sports
Gordon named MVP of McDonald's All-American game. Page 8