Eric Gordon Update: In Defense Of Sampson

October 14, 2006 – 4:27 am by Ryan Phillips

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.

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  1. 3 Responses to “Eric Gordon Update: In Defense Of Sampson”

  2. Should a staff put stock in what a kid says at all? How about 2 weeks prior to his commitment to IU? How about the whole summer? Should the staff have ignored that?

    Should a coach who doesn’t graduate his players and commits (literally) hundreds of NCAA violations raise suspicion when he does something that looks unethical? Is it suspicious to hire the kid’s mailman as an assistant coach?

    Well, I’m personally not too upset. IU fans can rationalize all they want, but UI fans don’t have to. Moreover, IU made its bed by hiring Sampson – now they & the Gordons have to sleep in it.

    By J on Oct 16, 2006

  3. “J” you’re still an idiot. Sampson had a low graduation rate at Oklahoma because he had mainly JuCo players who don’t count towards your graduation rates (only 4 year players do). Look at the numbers before you go throwing around stuff like that. And if you ask any college basketball analyst they will tell you that every staff in America does exactly what Sampson’s staff did at Oklahoma. That over-calling thing happens everywhere, and the rules for it are constantly changing, which is why the punishment was so low.
    Oh and since when does signing a kid who wants to play close to home “raise suspicion”? Gordon made it well known long ago that IU was his top choice but he did not want to play for Mike Davis.

    By Anonymous on Oct 17, 2006

  4. The JUCO point does not raise Sampson’s record passable. It’s still ugly.

    And if you ask any college basketball analyst they will tell you that every staff in America does exactly what Sampson’s staff did at Oklahoma.

    So the NCAA was just out to get Sampson?

    Gordon made it well known long ago that IU was his top choice but he did not want to play for Mike Davis.

    Have a quote for this, before this past Friday?

    Oh and since when does signing a kid who wants to play close to home “raise suspicion”?

    When you hire his dad’s former coach, his AAU coach, and a friend of the family.

    By J on Oct 18, 2006

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