Bloomington, Ind. – Eric Gordon is starting to slow down, and IU Coach Kelvin Sampson couldn't be happier.
The freshman continues to lead the Big Ten in scoring at 22.1 points/game, so there's been no slippage in his play as of late. But he has begun to lift his foot off the accelerator at times during games, which has helped the 6'4", 215-pound Indianapolis product cut down on his turnovers and keep the Hoosiers atop the Big Ten standings.
Gordon's ability to pick his spots and be more patient either in transition or in the halfcourt is a sign that the 19-year-old is showing signs of aging midway through his first college season.
"It's patience," Sampson said Thursday. "Knowing when to go 20 or 25 in a school zone, 35 in a residential area. If you get on the interstate, go 70. But there would be times he'd try to go 70 in a residential area. That's the maturation process. That's the way he's always played."
Before his arrival in Bloomington, Gordon came across very few capable of keeping him from doing what he wanted whenever he wanted. That's why his approach has been to attack at every opportunity.
It's an approach that's served him well, evidenced by his scoring average as well as his Big Ten-high 141 free-throw attempts. But Sampson said Gordon has made great strides in recent weeks learning to pick his spots.
"The better the players you play against, the more you have to play at variable speeds," said Sampson. "If you look at his last two games, I thought he had great control on Sunday against Penn State, especially in the second half, and then again last night (against Iowa)."
Gordon's ability to remove his game from the floorboard has resulted in far fewer turnovers as of late. The team's leader with nearly 3.5 turnovers/game this season, Gordon has had only three turnovers in the last two games combined. That's in stark contrast to a couple of earlier games this season when Gordon had eight turnovers against Georgia Tech and seven miscues in the win at Minnesota.
Sampson said he's gotten Gordon to realize that he doesn't need to play at full speed all the time to be successful, and it hasn't limited his effectiveness in the slightest.
"He can get to 60 before a lot of guys can get to 30," said Sampson. "So why would you get to 90? Play at 60."
Gordon's improvement in the area is a sign of not only his maturation, but also his willingness to heed the advice of the IU coaching staff. While that might seem like a given, it's not always the case for a player with Gordon's abilities.
"He's a very attentive listener," said Sampson. "Some kids hear you, but I'm not sure they listen to you. Some kids look, but I'm not sure if they see. This kid hears you, he listens to you, he looks and he sees."
Sampson Pleased to See Gordon Slowing Down
Peegs.com Top Stories
"We need to do everything that winners do"Indiana players talk about what they need to do to get the 2016 season turned around after three straight losses.
Coach TV: Wilson after loss at NorthwesternWatch Kevin Wilson's postgame press conference following Indiana's 24-14 loss at Northwestern.
Quick Recap: Northwestern 24, Indiana 14Indiana fell behind 24-3 at halftime and a second-half rally fell short despite a career day from receiver Nick Westbrook against the surging Wildcats.
It's Game DayIndiana takes the field today at noon in Evanston looking to get back on a winning track. Get up to speed on Northwestern and find the broadcast details.