Nothing shady to get Gordon, Sampson says
Eric Gordon signed with the Hoosiers on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period. That also made it the first time new coach Kelvin Sampson could publicly discuss the recruitment of Gordon, who originally committed to Illinois.
Coaches are not allowed by NCAA rules to discuss recruits until they sign. Sampson had been criticized by some national commentators and by Illinois coach Bruce Weber for recruiting a player committed to another school. Most recruiting services consider Gordon among the top two players in the senior class.
"I know that he and his family made it clear to us that this was something that they really wanted to explore," Sampson said. "…. Think about a kid that is committed to another school. We don't do that. Coaches don't recruit kids that are committed to other schools. If that was the case, you could do that a lot. I think this situation was certainly unique, and I hope it doesn't happen again."
Sampson, hired in March to replace Mike Davis, said he didn't remember when he and the Gordon family first made contact. Eric Gordon Sr. has maintained that Sampson did nothing wrong and that it was a "mutual decision" for his son to look at IU and for IU to recruit his son.
"I'm not going to get into the specifics," Sampson said. "I'm not going to give you a time line of how this all happened,. But the bottom line is, this kid grew up in Indiana, he's an Indiana kid and he wanted to come to Indiana."
The 6-foot-4 Gordon is a prolific scorer, and his impact has been projected to be similar to that of Carmelo Anthony, who led Syracuse to the 2003 NCAA title.
"I think that Eric, as our team develops, will impact us in his way," Sampson said. "And I'm not comparing him to Carmelo. I'm just trying to explain how Carmelo impacted Syracuse. Eric will impact us in his way. He's just a dynamite offensive player."