Three years ago, Jacobi Gordon, coming off more than six months of recovery from a patellar tendon tear, wowed current California assistant Chris Walker in a camp in Dallas, Tex. It was just his second or third time back on the court since tearing the tendon while going up for a dunk.
"I had been working out a long time, because I was able to work out; I just wasn't able to play," Gordon said. "When I was able to play, I was doing really well, had a real good freshman year, a real good freshman summer."
Walker, a Houston native, was about to start coaching the Houston Hoops AAU program, and he knew one thing: He wanted Gordon to be a part of it.
"He saw me play, he talked to my people, and he said, 'I want to start a team for him," Gordon said. "Ever since then, from my freshman year to now, he's been around, from school to AAU, and he's helped me a whole lot, actually."
This week, Walker, who's been on an offer spree in his home state of Texas, asked Gordon to be a part of something new, at Cal. Gordon has grown into a 6-foot-6, 210-pound wing, averaging 10.6 points and 4.5 rebounds over the first eight games of the summer for that Houston Hoops squad in the EYBL, shooting 63% from the field.
"Him being my AAU coach for two years, and behind behind me my junior year for school, I could stay with him, because he knows who I am as a player," Gordon said. "We're close. My family is real close with him. It was good that he got that offer at Cal, because that's somebody I know, and somebody I have a close relationship with, and I know how he coaches, and what he brings to the table."
The four-star Gordon has a 3.7 grade point average, and now holds offers from the Bears, Baylor, Connecticut, Creighton, Georgia Tech, Houston, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon and Texas A&M. Having Walker in Berkeley "makes [Cal] an option," Gordon said.
"Some people think that's my only option right now," Gordon continued, "but it's a big option. As far as the other schools recruiting me, I still have a lot of other schools that I'm very interested in."
The offer from the Bears is still new. Gordon may know Walker, but he doesn't quite yet know the program that Walker, head coach Wyking Jones and the rest of the staff are building. Gordon spoke with Jones last year when Jones was an assistant to Cuonzo Martin, but they've not talked since Jones became the new skipper. That's why, later this summer, Gordon wants to make a stop in Berkeley.
"I want to take an unofficial later this month, walk around the campus and things like that, get a better understanding of what they're looking for, and who they are," Gordon said. "Then, we'll go from there. I want to see it. We're going to set something up with Chris and the head coach to get an unofficial."