Monday, November 28, 2005

Eric Gordon

Eric Gordon verballed to Illini coach Bruce Weber late Sunday, according to the Indianapolis Star.

This is huge for the following reasons (sportswriters, especially Bruce Weber recruiting naysayers, take note):

--Gordon is a top ten recruit (via Rivals and Scout).

--Gordon is considered by many as the top shooting guard prospect in the class of '07.

--Gordon was considering Duke (I think he had an offer).

--Gordon is possibly the highest-rated out-of-state recruit ever to commit to Illinois.

--Gordon is friends with Derrick Rose, another huge Weber recruiting target in Chicago.

--Gordon's dad said the following:

"The No. 1 thing is just the coaching staff," the elder Gordon, also named Eric, said of the Illini, coached by Bruce Weber. "They recruited him since he was younger. They've shown so much interest in him."

The elder Gordon also cited the proximity from Indianapolis to Illinois' campus in Champaign, Ill., and the way Illinois developed guards Deron Williams and Luther Head, both playing in the NBA. Both were keys in Illinois' national runner-up run last season.

Williams was the No. 3 overall pick by the Utah Jazz, and Head was the 24th overall pick by the Houston Rockets. Williams is averaging 13.6 points as the second-leading scorer for the Jazz, and is the team leader is assists at 5.1 per game. Head is averaging 9.8 points and shooting 49.0 percent from 3-point range.

Analysis: This is a huge get for Bruce Weber and Illinois. It shows that excellent coaching will land big-time recruits. It also shows that Weber isn't the recruiting wanna-be the media has made him out to be.

Seriously, when was the last time an Illinois coach landed a recruit who was this highly ranked out of state? Not Henson, not Kruger, not Self.

Not only that but he beat Duke to do it and Gordon committed before he said he would (he originally said he was going to wait until summer I believe).

Time will tell if this starts a landslide for recruiting (i.e. Weber lands Derrick Rose) but for now it's a huge get. Word on the street is Gordon and Rose talk regularly so I'm hopeful.

By the way, this is what Gregg Doyel had to say. Memo to Doyel: this isn't Weber's "first big-time recruit." Please see Brian Carlwell, Richard Semrau and Shaun Pruitt. Must you trash the man every time you write something, even if you're trying to report positive news for the Illini?

Beef with sports reporters in general: Please get some investigative abilities. Seriously. If political reporters can investigate Jack Abramoff, why can't sports reporters do more of the NCAA's dirty work? We all know the NCAA is soft when it comes to enforcing it's own rules and regulations but this would force them to get tough.

Mark Tupper raised some interesting questions regarding the recruitment of Sherron Collins in his 10/18/05 post on his blog. I think they are valid. I wish he would have sourced some comments but I think he had some valid points. Why can't anyone actually investigate? Do a Freedom of Information Act request for phone records, bank statements etc. Go after it. Good grief.

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