One of the great players in the history of Bay Area high school basketball is returning home Wednesday night, his legacy growing seemingly every time he steps onto a court.

Since Arizona star Aaron Gordon graduated from Archbishop Mitty last year, he has become a national highlight reel for the top-ranked team in the land.

But beyond the high-flying dunks that regularly appear on "SportsCenter," Gordon has brought the same ultra-competitive work ethic to the desert that made him a two-time California state high school player of the year while at Mitty.

Gordon's infectious drive to succeed has helped Arizona open the season with a program-record 20 consecutive wins and made his return home all the more special. Arizona visits Stanford on Wednesday and Cal on Saturday.

"It's definitely a homecoming," Gordon said Monday. "I get to be in my hometown, the Bay Area. There's going to be a lot of people, a lot of distractions, but I've got to just focus on getting wins."

As he was at Mitty, Gordon is a coach's dream at Arizona, a superstar more concerned about winning games and championships than individual numbers. Gordon, a 6-foot-9, 225-pound forward, is the Wildcats' second-leading scorer (12.3 points per game) and top rebounder (7.8 per game).

But his game is much more than points and rebounds.

"He's one of the great defenders in our conference," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "He defends multiple positions, which is very difficult for somebody who is (6-9). He's an excellent passer. He's really good in transition, whether he has the ball or doesn't.

"He does everything for us, and he's a big reason why our team has had the success that we've had to this point."

Gordon's presence on the court is not all that impresses Miller.

"Nobody has, in my mind, a higher breed of character than Aaron Gordon," the coach added. "He's an incredible teammate. He's one of the harder workers that I've been around. He's well beyond the years of his age."

Gordon, 18, did not fill the stat sheet when Arizona faced one of its toughest challenges thus far, a grinding game at home Sunday against Utah. But in the span of a couple of minutes, he propelled the Wildcats to victory.

With the score 47-47, Gordon helped create a turnover at one end, soared over a Utah player to grab an offensive rebound and then brought the McKale Center crowd to a frenzy with a thundering slam.

Moments later, Gordon leapt high to block a shot on the wing, grabbed another offensive rebound and fed a teammate for an easy basket.

The Wildcats rolled from there.

"Gordon's a great player," Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. "He's going to be a pro in one year. He's going to be a lottery pick. He's a monster."

Gordon was recently named USA Basketball's male athlete of the year for leading the United States to a gold medal at the under-19 world championships last summer, and his name can be found on virtually every mock NBA draft list.

But despite his rising fame, Gordon has kept his eye on the one quest that means the most right now.

"All I want to do is win a national title," Gordon said. "That's all I want to do. I don't care about anything else."

Back at Mitty, where Gordon led the Monarchs to state titles in 2011 and 2012 and a Northern California crown last season, his crowd-buzzing plays are nothing new.

"We're not as awed because that's what he did every day," Mitty coach Tim Kennedy said. "But what I am happy about is the recognition that he's getting for being a great teammate, being a great defender. Stuff that went unnoticed in high school because the dunks overshadow it."

Gordon keeps in touch with his former coach and teammates. When the Monarchs won at rival Serra this month, he made sure to congratulate them.

"He's still down to earth," Mitty guard Connor Peterson said.

Gordon's family, friends and former teachers are expected at Maples Pavilion on Wednesday, but his former teammates will not be there. They won't be at Cal on Saturday, either, because Mitty has games both days.

"I'm more disappointed that I can't go see their games," Gordon said.

The one glitch in an otherwise special homecoming.

Bay Area News Group's Jeff Faraudo contributed to this report. Follow Darren Sabedra on Twitter at twitter.com/DarrenSabedra.

Wednesday's game
Arizona (20-0, 7-0 Pac-12) at Stanford (13-6, 4-3), 6 p.m., ESPN2