April 6, 2011
Yes, this blog still works. It has been a while to say the least. March did not provide me with much time to sit down and put coherent words together and expect people to understand them. With the tournament in the rear-view mirror, hopefully I can write more frequently.
Now just because the basketball season is over for the Hilltoppers does not mean there is a lack of news. Since WKU was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament, AD Ross Bjork jumped ship for Ole Miss, the Lady Toppers fired, then hired a head coach, we learned two members of the men's basketball staff will not return next year, and neither will freshman guard Derrick Gordon, who has decided to transfer so he can play closer to home. Did I miss anything?
Gordon's departure is what I want to focus on right now. It's a loss. There is no other way to put it. The Tops lose their leading scorer and rebounder, the only player to start all 35 games last season, and the only guy to average 30-plus minutes per game. Gordon's hustle and competitive spirit were second to none. He will be missed. Period. Just not as much as many want to believe.
Gordon led the team in shot attempts, 52 more than the next closest guy, Jamal Crook. He shot just 36 percent from the floor. Yikes. He shot 26 percent from behind the arc. We all remember his struggles from the charity stripe. He ranked sixth on the team in free throw percentage (69 percent) of those attempting at least 20 during the season. These are not the numbers you want from your starting two-guard.
Gordon is solid when it comes to penetrating and drawing contact to get to the line, but his shot is mediocre at best. It is too inconsistent. Again, not what you want from a two-guard.
You have to give Gordon credit. He committed to WKU early on and never wavered. He greatest asset may have been his skills as a recruiter. I am not here to question or judge why he chose to leave the Hilltoppers. But I do know he played his heart out while he was here.
That said, life will go on without him. There are other players on WKU's roster whose loss would have been far greater had they decided to leave. In addition to the recruits coach Harper will bring in, the Toppers will also get back their best shooter in Caden Dickerson, a more than competent point guard in Kevin Kaspar, and a guy with size in Stephon Drane. George Fant became a man-beast in the postseason, T.J. Price is on his way to becoming a stud, and I was very impressed with the emergence of O'Karo Akamune down the stretch. He could be the hidden gem in this freshman class.
So for those hitting the panic button, simmer down. Don't let this news dampen your enthusiasm for the direction of the program. The future is still very bright. This time next year, Gordon could easily be a distant memory.