Eric Gordon – Indiana

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Shooting Guard

Being an Illini fan, it’s very hard for me to talk about Eric Gordon without getting a little upset. If you don’t know the back story I’ll just give you the short version. He gave a verbal commitment to play for the University of Illinois, stuck by that commitment up until the end, and then backed out at the last minute and signed with the University of Indiana instead. Now as a guy that bleeds orange and blue, I’m actually not that upset about it anymore, especially after all the stuff that IU went through this year (what goes around  comes around). Sure, it hurts to see your team struggle especially after the run that we had a few years ago and knowing that Gordon would’ve been a tremendous boost to the program…but I look at this situation objectively.

First off, he orally committed his junior year of high school. That right there wasn’t a reason to celebrate in my opinion. So many times I’ve seen kids orally commit to one program and then choose another. Picking a college is a very big decision and a kid has a right to change his mind. Having said that, he should’ve at least let Bruce Weber know that he was having second thoughts instead of insisting that he was still coming. There’s plenty of blame to go around in this situation – most of which should go to Kelvin Sampson who I personally feel influenced Gordon to keep his intentions quiet – and if you dig deep into the story and see the moves that were made on IU’s part behind the scenes you’ll find that at the end of the day, Coach Weber and the Illini-nation never really had a shot. 

Strengths: He is very athletic and very explosive and if you haven’t seen him play this year, he’s pretty much in range as soon as he hits the gym. He has a scorers mentality and decent size (6’3″ and 215 lbs). He’s kind of like Ben Gordon but better because of his explosiveness. He can take it to the rack and dunk on you or knock the NBA three down in your face…both with ease. He led the Big Ten in scoring and was named Freshman of the Year. He put up pretty good numbers too: 20.9 ppg, 2.4 apg, 3.3 rpg, 1.3 spg along with shooting 43% from the field, 83% from the line and 34% from deep.

Weaknesses: His shot selection this year has been questionable and he all but disappeared down the stretch run of the season; especially against Arkansas in the tournament. When the lights came on and the ball went up on college basketball’s biggest stage, Eric Gordon was nowhere to be found. He went 3-15 from the field and 0-6 from beyond the arc to finish with just 8 points. His size is also an issue at the next level because he isn’t a true PG and his ball handling is just average. He also doesn’t seem to be very tough mentally either which is a pre-requisite for playing in the NBA.

Grade: B+

Suggestion: Back to Class

Summary: Had Eric Gordon finished the season the way that he started, I would’ve given him a better grade and suggested he go ahead and make the jump. But since he fizzled the way that he did and had a miserable performance in the tournament I feel like he has no choice but to come back for his sophomore year just to redeem himself. If he comes out now, he might be a Lottery pick but he could very well end up a mid to late first rounder.

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