2007 Focus: Eric Gordon

Meet Eric Gordon, a young player who has drawn a good bit of attention recently for his stellar play. While it's a little early to rank the top players in the class of 2007, one thing is certain: Eric Gordon will be near the top.

Gordon, a 6-foot-3, 190 pound shooting guard, turned heads during a successful freshman season at Indianapolis (Ind.) North Central High. Despite playing in a star-studded lineup that included first-team All Metro North selection Tony Passley and Metro North Player of the Year A.J. Ratliff, the freshman Gordon managed to impress.

Gordon's 13.5 points per game were third best on the team, but he also averaged 6 rebounds and 5 assists a game and was distinguished as Indiana's State Freshman of the Year. Gordon, playing both shooting guard and a bit of point guard, was essential to North Central's 21-4 record and run in the playoffs, which ended with a second-round loss to Greg Oden's Lawrence North team, the eventual state champions.

While his freshman season was excellent, Gordon truly burst onto the national scene with his performance on the spring AAU circuit. He played for the loaded Spiece Indy Heat squad featuring Greg Oden, Josh McRoberts, Mike Conley and Daequan Cook. In order to prepare for a big spring and summer, Gordon says "I just played a lot and did a lot of shooting."

His work certainly paid off, as he earned a starting spot for Spiece and played extremely well as of late. In May, at the Tournament of Champions in Chapel Hill, Gordon was instrumental in his team's undefeated championship run. In the championship game against the New Orleans Jazz, Gordon displayed an impressive scoring arsenal, finishing with 20 points.

Playing with the Spiece squad will certainly pay off in the long run. "I'm really excited (about playing with the older players) because they help make you a better player." He certainly benefits from playing with Oden, about whom Gordon says: "He makes things easier and helps the team make less errors."

Gordon makes things easier for Spiece, as well. The confident player has a great stroke from behind the arc and knows how to get to the basket. "My biggest strength is my shooting and scoring. I'm a really good scorer."

Gordon's high school coach, Doug Mitchell, agrees. "Eric's a very powerful player and his strength allows him to go to the basket. He's a great shooter with great range which makes him difficult to guard. He's very creative and crafty and he's a very good passer so defenders have to respect him."

As for his weaknesses, Gordon is quick to point out that he has a lot of work to do. "I need to get stronger, keep playing, and work on my dribbling."

According to Mitchell, Gordon needs to work on moving without the ball as well. "He can create his own shot with the ball, but he needs to do so without the ball as well. When he learns to create his own shot without the ball and come off of screens he'll be twice as good as he is now." Only a rising sophomore, Gordon certainly has plenty of time to work and improve.

While it's very early in his recruitment, Gordon's school list is already large and impressive. Arizona, Duke, Indiana, Illinois, Notre Dame, Stanford, Michigan State, Syracuse and Xavier are all interested and have contacted Gordon. Arizona, Illinois, and Xavier have even put scholarships on the table. Any favorites? "My favorites are Duke, North Carolina, and Indiana."

Gordon's schedule for the rest of the summer features only one more major event, the Big Time tournament in Las Vegas in July, which Gordon will attend with Spiece. And while he doesn't have a lot planned for the summer, Eric Gordon has a long future in basketball waiting for him.

The author, Ken Clark is a junior at Woodberry Forest in Virginia. He's been a special contributor to TheInsiders.com during his summer vacation.


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