Eric Gordon SG (Indiana)
Along with USC’s O.J . Mayo, Eric Gordon is certainly at the head of a short list when it comes to picking out the best guard in the 2007-08 NCAA freshman class. Though he certainly incurred the anger of many fans in the Illinois area, when he changed his mind about attending the University of Illinois and signed on with Indiana, this 6-4 guard has been as good as advertised this year. A true freshman, Gordon set a school record in the first game he played for Indiana, when he scored 33 points against Chattanooga. So impressed was coach Kelvin Williams with this kid right off the bat, that he compared Eric Gordon’s work ethics to that of Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, saying, “He’s going to play hard every night, and the thing I like is that he practices at the same pace every day. When I was at Michigan State, Magic Johnson was like that.”
While that type of praise may be going a bit too far, Gordon has been true to form game after game for Indiana this year, scoring in double figures in all the Hoosiers games except for one. This type of consistency has the star guard averaging 21.6 points per game. A good portion of those points have come when shooting beyond the three point arc, where the long range shooting star has hit on 41.3 percent of the more than half dozen shots he takes from there every game.
Like most gifted outside shooters, Gordon also appears to have ice water in his veins, shooting well even under enormous pressure. In a recent double overtime win against Illinois and amid the booing and jeering of fans, most of whom felt slighted by Gordon’s reneging on his commitment to the school, Eric hit a game tying three-pointer with under 30 second left to play. When asked about the shot, Gordon shrugged it off saying, “I wasn’t really worried about it.” The exciting freshman also scored 18 of his 19 points in the second half of the game, adding to the believe that he will be a great clutch shooter for time to come.
Yet, should anyone really be surprised by Gordon or his recent exploits, it should be remembered that Eric was honored as tIndiana’s 2007 Mr. Basketball, following a senior season which saw him average over 29 points per game. This McDonald’s All-American also has an outstanding mastery of the game to go along with his shooting touch. Still, there is room for improvement for the 19 year-old, including the need to further develop his passing, rebounding, and ability to create a shot. However, Gordon has performed well enough this freshman year, that he has begun to receive consideration for the Big Ten Player of the Year. Though whether the talented youngster stays in school for the duration of his four years, or declares for the NBA draft early remains to be seen. I would look for him to enter the NBA Draft by 2010.