Maybe it's playing with Greg Oden and Mike Conley – or maybe it's just his demeanor. Whatever the case, Eric Gordon is about as grounded a big-time player as you'll find.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound North Central (Ind.) High junior combo guard lets his play do his talking on the court – and he is a soft-spoken kid off the court as well.
There really isn't much Gordon isn't able to do. He's a guy who accepted his role on a loaded Spiece Indy Heat team that featured Oden, Conley and Daequan Cook this past spring and summer.
He can score, whether it's knocking down a flurry of trifectas or taking the ball to the basket and finishing with authority. He can set up his teammates as well, although he's more of a two-guard in the summer due to the presence of Conley. He's quick, strong and explosive.
And he may be better off the court.
Gordon has been the top priority of Bruce Weber and his staff basically since they landed at Illinois – and the Illini still occupy the top spot on Gordon's list. However, one school has made up some ground – and it's little surprise who it is: Duke.
Gordon, 16, recently took a visit to Illinois for Midnight Madness and enjoyed his trip.
It's no surprise that Gordon's two favorite players are Dwayne Wade and Chauncey Billups. Parts of his game are comparable to both Wade and Billups.
``I watch those guys a lot," Gordon said. "I try and play smart like they do. They get things done and also make everyone better."
Gordon said that the schools that really have prioritized him are recruiting him to play both spots in the backcourt. In high school, Gordon runs the team. He only started playing off the ball recently.
``I've always played the point since I was young," he added.
Gordon, who averaged 25.5 points as a sophomore, isn't one of those elite players who struggles to find a fault with his game. He realizes he has deficiencies and he's OK with that. ``I need to become more of a consistent dribbler and passer," he says.
While Illinois and Duke are a close 1-2, Gordon also rattles off Arizona, Missouri (his father played for assistant coach Jeff Meyer), Notre Dame and Indiana – although it's more than likely this battle will come down to Illinois and Duke.
``Those are the two that are really standing out," Gordon said. "But I'm still liking Illinois the most."
``Coach (Bruce) Weber is building a trust with me since I've been in the eighth grade," Gordon said. "I can tell by the way he's recruiting me that he's doing everything to help me out. He's preparing me to do a lot right away my freshman year. I can see it."