Bloomington, Ind. – Truth be told, the IU basketball program won over Eric Gordon just about every time the 6-3, 185-pounder set foot on the Bloomington campus.
Of course, the problem was that the same could be said for Illinois and Coach Bruce Weber whenever Scout.com's second-ranked player in the 2007 class made a visit to Champaign.
"One week he'd be Indiana and the next week he'd go visit Illinois and he'd say, ‘I want to go to Illinois,'" Eric's father, Eric Gordon, Sr. told HoosierNation.com this afternoon. "The next week he'd go back to Indiana and he'd say, ‘I want to go to Indiana.'"
That back and forth prompted the Gordons to decide to take a step back from the recruiting process and back off on the visits so the North Central H.S. standout could try to sort out where he wanted to play his college basketball.
And much to the delight of IU Coach Kelvin Sampson, Gordon decided that the best place for him was Bloomington. Gordon called Weber Thursday night to let him know he planned to sign with the Hoosiers, and then talked with Sampson Friday morning.
"Ultimately, it was so tough and so close either way," Eric Sr. said. "Once he sat down and thought about what was best for him short term and long term, he decided he wanted to go to Indiana. I'm sure he thought about if you take basketball out of it, Indiana is going to be closer to home, he's going to have a lot more friends that are already there, and it's going to be easier to assimilate from high school to college.
"So that ultimately led him to say, ‘hey, I think Indiana is the best place for me.'"
Eric Sr. has been very instrumental in helping his son through the recruiting process, as has his mother and his grandparents. He said one of the things he learned throughout his son's recruitment was that parents need to be as involved as possible.
"Coaches, they are very powerful and influential on high school kids, 16, 17, 18-year-olds," Eric Sr. said. "And parents really have to be involved so they can help the kids work through things objectively.
"You can't just let the kids base things on the excitement or the enthusiasm of the student body. You have to sit them down and talk about the things they are going to do every day. That part is like the engagement, but the marriage is when you sign the paper and you get down there to the school and run up and down the court and you're dealing with that coach, and the coach is praising you or yelling at you."
Eric Sr., said his son let North Central H.S. coach Doug Mitchell know about his decision on Monday, and then waited until later this week to let the coaching staffs and IU and Illinois know the final verdict.
Gordon is the fourth member of IU's 2007 class, joining California big man Eli Holman and Chicago products Jamarcus Ellis and Brandon McGee. Gordon is clearly the headliner of the class, and he'll be in Bloomington tonight along with his family for Indiana's Hoosier Hysteria.
Gordon Sr. said the family has no expectations about what type of reception he'll receive from an IU crowd that many estimate will approach 15,000.
"He just wants to come down and spend some time on campus and with the players," Eric Sr. said. "He wanted to start to develop relationships with the players, which he already has with about half of them."
Since Sampson took over for Mike Davis in the spring, the new Hoosier coach has already been able to develop a relationship with Gordon, and that factored heavily into his decision as well.
"He truly enjoys the relationship he's developed with Coach Sampson," Eric Sr. said.
Eric Gordon Sr. Talks About Son's Decision
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