In November of 2005, Eric Gordon told Illinois’ basketball coaches he would attend college in Champaign instead of the school he grew up loving, Indiana. Almost a year later with a totally different situation in Bloomington, Kelvin Sampson and his staff convinced the nation’s top high school guard to change his commitment and play in his home state.
Many people – most of them Illini fans – are up in arms because of this development, saying Sampson and co. broke an unwritten rule by recruiting a verbally committed player. Well folks, there’s a reason they call it an unwritten rule, that’s because it’s not actually a rule.
When Sampson took over as the head coach at IU, it changed Gordon’s situation. He committed to Illinois partly because he did not want to play for IU’s former coach, Mike Davis. With Davis out of the picture IU looks like an entirely different place. What Sampson did was not give up on a kid who committed to Illinois during the fall of his junior year of high school. He thought that a 17-year-old kid might possibly change his mind at some point.
Honestly the way to solve this type of thing is to not put so much stock in what a high school kid says before he’s allowed to actually sign with a school. This type of thing happens all the time, though usually it doesn’t involve such a high profile player and two conference rivals. Honestly Illini fans everyone understands why you’re upset, Gordon is a hell of a player who is only going to get better. But you also need to realize that if the roles were reversed, you’d be ecstatic to get this kid and would defend your staff the way IU fan is defending theirs.
College sports have turned really ugly and it sucks to see a situation like this because it puts way too much pressure on young kids trying to make the most important decisions of their lives.