|Derrick Gordon Has Transferred to Seton Hall/ap.org|
While Derrick Gordon’s announcement of his decision to transfer to Seton Hall created a lot of buzz because of his impact on the sport, the impact that the move has on the Pirates has huge potential for a program that was in need of another solid guard for the 2015-16 season.
Gordon, who is the first openly gay Division I men’s basketball player, will join Isaiah Whitehead, Khadeen Carrington, and incoming freshman Dalton Soffer in The Hall’s backcourt.
In terms of timing in the recruiting process, Seton Hall could not have asked for a better addition this late into it. Averaging 9.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per contest in his junior year at UMass, the 6-foot-2 Gordon not only gives SHU talent, but he can be a leader.
While the Pirates said goodbye to a three-man senior class and Sterling Gibbs and Jaren Sina, they all had one thing in common – not one of them had any NCAA Tournament experience. Gordon, who started his college basketball career at Western Kentucky, has gone to two Big Dances.
Whitehead and Carrington are expected to take the next steps in their careers, but question marks lied next to SHU’s backcourt in terms of whether the two could really be at the forefront of steering the Pirates into the right direction as the primary scoring guards. Gordon can certainly help that effort in more ways than one. “I’m excited to work with the guys and just play basketball again,” he said. “Having the NCAA Tournament experience, I know I can help Seton Hall get back to that point.”
How did Gordon come to this decision?
“I really felt like Seton Hall was the place for me because I can maximize my potential there,” he said. “I want to thank Coach Willard and his staff. They could not have been better in this long recruiting process.”
Gordon said that he met with Seton Hall University President Gabriel Esteban and the administration Sunday on top of the coaching staff.
“They made me feel so welcome, and to be playing close to home and in the Big East is a win-win,” he said.
Gordon has the stats to deliver and while it’s only a small sample size, the guard said all of the right things on Sunday evening. For Seton Hall, this news of an immediately eligible, talented, and grounded guard could mean big things in establishing a culture for the future.
Marquette Making Moves :
Steve Wojciechowski had a big weekend, to say the least. The Marquette head coach received a phone call from Stevens Point High School forward Sam Hauser, who announced his intention to play for the Golden Eagles as a part of the 2016 recruiting class. The homegrown talent put up 17.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game this past season as a junior, while also leading Stevens Point to the WIAA Division I state title. He received offers from schools including Virginia, Creighton, and Iowa State, among others.
On top of that, Andrew Rousey will transfer from UNC Asheville to the Golden Eagles. He tallied 19.2 points per contest and was named to the All-Big South Second Team. He will sit out 2015-16, but “Wojo” is building for the future.
Marquette was also in the news Sunday after a report that said forward Steve Taylor Jr. will transfer to Toledo for his final season. The 6-foot-7 forward averaged 5.9 points and five boards per game, playing just over 22 minutes. A top-100 recruit, Taylor could never find a complete groove as a Golden Eagle. He will sit out 2015-16.
Finally, my early top five for next season:
1. North Carolina
4. Iowa State
Why is Carolina at the front of the pack?
Roy Williams’ team returns virtually everyone except J.P. Tokoto, and with an All-American candidate in Marcus Paige, the Tar Heels are my top team. Roy Williams needs to be able to develop the returning talent. If he can do that, there is no reason why UNC is not the top team in college hoops.
I realize the popular team is Maryland because of the addition of Rasheed Sulaimon, but I am not ready to put them at the top. Let’s see if the Terps can factor him in the right way and be better than a Carolina group that comes into next season knowing how to play together.
Follow @John_Fanta and @NCAAHoopsDigest on twitter for up to the minute college basketball news and opinion