Gordon Quickly Emerging

2018 St. Louis area prospect Carte'Are Gordon is showing flashes of what he could become this spring. He talks about his freshman year development and the beginnings of what's sure to be a heated recruitment.

Though they still have a long way to go, a few 2018 prospects are already beginning to stand out. One who stands out not only as a player, but is physically imposing and passes the eye test is St. Louis (MO) St. John Vianney freshman Carte’Are Gordon.

And Gordon knows that he is often the biggest guy on the floor (6’-8”, 240 lbs.), but has the versatility and skill to match up against almost any opponent he faces.

"Yeah I do (use my size to my advantage),” he said. "It depends on who I’m playing against. Sometimes I’m bigger and can just be physical and do what I want. Other times I have to use some skill to get around guys. The size helps a lot."

For his age, Gordon’s footwork is impressive. He moves well in the post, establishes strong position on the block, and leverages his position to get to the rim. For the sake of comparison, he has a little Caleb "Biggie" Swanigan to his game. According to Gordon, it’s just his hard work paying off.

"I’ve been doing a lot of post move practice and workouts throughout the summer,” he said. "I’ve worked on it a lot. I’ve done a lot of agility work and footwork with the ladders and everything."

Gordon knows his size gives him a big advantage in the paint, but the young post presence won’t rest on that alone. His footwork, already impressive, will only get better as he continues to refine his skill.

"Having good footwork will be very important for my career,” he said. "I’m going to be facing bigger opponents and will need to get around them, so having good footwork is going to be very important."

Though he is working on his finesse game to become well-rounded, Gordon understands his power and isn’t afraid to take it right at his opponents.

"My mindset is to try to finish at the rim no matter who’s in front of me,” he said. "I just want to go into them and finish."

Gordon not only dominated in the paint, but also had the confidence to initiate the transition offense after pulling down boards. His ball handling is something else that he has spent considerable time working on.

"I’ve been working on my ball handling a lot,” Gordon said. "I know that I can’t just be the biggest guy on the court. I need to be able to handle it and have skills and everything too."

Despite being just a freshman this past high school season, Gordon had a vote of confidence from both his coach and his teammates from the start, and he credits that for helping him get such a good start to his high school career.

"We have a great coach at St. John Vianney,” he said. "It took me a couple weeks before the season started (to get adjusted), but my teammates helped me a lot."

He continued, "It was very important to get that confidence, actually. I just learned that you can’t be nervous or afraid out there. I just went out there and tried to do my thing. After I learned that, everything got a lot easier."

But Gordon didn’t have it easy this past season by any means, and it won’t get much easier this year. Gordon plays in one of the most loaded conferences in the St. Louis area, and much of that talent resides in the 2016 class.

"It’s hard,” Gordon said. "I play in the MCC, so that’s guys like Jordan Barnes, Jayson Tatum, and Tyler Cook, Xavier Sneed, all those guys. I can say it helped me push myself to that next level a lot. They’re all some of the best juniors in the country, so playing against them makes me that much better and it’s more challenging."

The recruiting interest is already pouring in for the 2018 prospect. Though he has not received his first offer just yet, Gordon is drawing plenty of looks, and that first offer is likely just a matter of time at this point.

"I’m hearing from SLU, Stanford, Notre Dame, Missouri, and Illinois a lot right now,” he said. "I’ve gotten mail from Northwestern. A couple of schools are talking about offering. Mizzou is one of them. I’ve also heard from North Carolina a bit too."

Gordon does hope to see some of the schools interested in him in person when the spring circuit dies down a bit. He will likely start locally and go from there.

"I’m planning to get to some visits in soon. I want to get to Mizzou, SLU. I just need to see what I can work out between AAU and all that.

Illinois is one school that has shown Gordon strong early interest. He has seen them in action before and hails from the same AAU program that current Illini wing Malcolm Hill played with.

“(The relationship has) been good,” Gordon said. "I went to see them play in the Braggin’ Rights game against Mizzou. They have a former Jets player that’s there now in Malcolm Hill. I know him very well."

Gordon already has a solid relationship with the Illinois staff, and it’s only bound to grow as his recruitment progresses.

"The coaches are really good people and like to get all the guys involved,” he said, "I like the coaches at Illinois."

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