Eric Gordon, 62 PG/SG, Senior, North Central HS, Signed with Indiana
43 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 assists, 17-25 FG
In one of the most remarkable performances in a nationally televised high school game, Eric Gordon nearly single handedly matched the scoring output of the second best high school team the state of Illinois has to offer, and probably would have done so had he not been pulled from the game with three and a half minutes remaining. He gave casual basketball fans throughout the country a sneak peak of what basketball insiders have known all along: There is not a player better suited for the college game right now in the country, period.
From the tip, E.J. made it clear that he was going to put on a show, despite his relatively quiet demeanor. He immediately attacked Jeffrey Jordan with his explosive first step and blinding hesitation moves, leaving him in the dust and getting to the rim effortlessly. Gordons ability to get to the rim and finish in transition is unmatched at the high school level, as his freakish body control and strength allow him to finish absolutely everything within five feet of the rim. This was shown countless times throughout the game, when Gordon would collapse the defense and glide around defenders in midair to finish at the hole. Or, if he chose to, he would simply outmuscle Loyola defenders with his deceptive strength in the air. The Jordan Classic selection could easily do whatever he wanted once around the rim, choosing to finish with his left or right hand at the cup.
The fact that Gordon is also a freak athlete also helps his ability to finish however. Not only does he have an explosive first step, but he is a very good leaper, as shown on his double pump reverse dunk in the fourth quarter. His athleticism transcends to both ends of the floor, although it was not so clear during Thursday evenings game. On the AAU circuit, Eric has shown the ability to be an absolute lock down defender, using his knowledge of how to defend in conjuncture with his immense physical traits. He completely brings the toughness to the game that you think of when imagining your prototypical Big 10 combo guard defensively, making him fit in perfectly with Kelvin Sampsons defensive scheme.
One area of Erics game that we have not even begun to tackle is his incredible shooting ability, which extends to the NBA three point line. He has shown the ability to shoot on the move, off the dribble, or from a stand still on both the high school and AAU level consistently. He gets into the shooting motion very quickly, not needing much space at all to get his shot off. During the spring and summer of 2005 when teamed with Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., and Daequan Cook, Gordon was the one who was the zone killer when teams would fall into a 2-3 in efforts to contain Oden. This is just yet another area in which he will help IU, making foes think twice before running a zone against the Hoosiers with him on the court.
Over the years, Gordon have been slowly making the transition from shooting guard to combo guard. This process is moving along very smoothly, with his ball handling and passing abilities improving immensely since he burst on the national scene as a sophomore. His lack of a true position may hurt him when draft time rolls around, but Ben Gordon proved that a 62, 63 SG with some PG skills can be a high lottery pick. With a little more development, it is certainly not out of the question for Gordon to be in the same class as Gordon in terms of where he winds up in the draft.
One issue that Gordon may have in the future when the time rolls around for him to enter the NBA Draft is his lack of size. Although listed at 64 by many, he is much closer to 62 and is not particularly long. Again, we can use Ben Gordon as an example of an undersized combo guard being a high lottery pick, but he really had to prove himself at the collegiate level before that happened. Erics strength allows his height to be a bit less of a concern though, allowing him to finish on anyone at the basket and not be taken advantage of defensively.
It is truly hard to negatively critique a player after playing as close to a perfect game as a high school player could possibly perform. He got his teammates involved, while still scoring 43 points. Gordon would have likely surpassed his season high of 50 points, had he been more aggressive in blowout time and had North Central coach Dough Mitchell not taken him out late in the game. Had the NBA not instilled its 19 year old age rule, it would have been likely that we saw Gordon as a lottery pick this year, if he chose to come out. If he is able accomplish most are expecting out of him next year at IU, we will surely see Eric near the top of the draft board in 2008.
DraftExpress will be on hand for all three all-star games that Gordon will likely be participating in (Jordan Classic, Nike Hoop Summit, and McDonalds All-America Game), where we will be able to further evaluate and continue our coverage of this talented combo guard.
Jeffery Jordan, 61, PG/SG, Senior, Loyola Academy, Undecided
4 points, 2-10 FG
Michaels oldest son was awfully disappointing in this game, considering that some view him as a high major sleeper. Only having offers from two division one colleges at the moment, Jeffery looked like he would be much better suited accepting a scholarship from a low major program such as Loyola (IL) where he would be able to play immediately. He appeared to have very little in terms of point guard skills, looking for his own shot before running the team. His ball handling skills were quite suspect to say the least, and he looked much better suited playing off the ball then taking care of the teams playmaking duties.
On the bright side, Jordan displayed excellent athleticism for a player only standing 61, as shown by his alley-oop dunk from his kid brother. He appeared to have a nice pullup jumper off of the dribble from 17 feet and in. Jeffrey obviously inherited some of his fathers genes, based on his chiseled physique and leaping ability. Jordan should be a very nice player at the low to mid major level, where he should be able to have an impact from the day he steps foot on campus.
Marcus Jordan, 64, PG/SG, Sophomore, Loyola Academy, Undecided
4 points, 1-6 FG, 2-4 FT
The greatest player evers youngest son, Marcus, appeared to be a better prospect then his big brother. He also had the same chiseled physique and nice athleticism that Jeffrey has, but has more playmaking skills. Jordan made a few very nice passes and looked quite solid running the team off of the bench. It is still a bit early on him, considering that he is only a sophomore and plays on a loaded Loyola squad. He is currently being hailed as a potential high major player, which he certainly has the potential to become if he continues developing his point guard skills.