It seems like a lifetime ago. Before the phone calls and the sanctions that earned Kelvin Sampson a show-cause penalty, before proud Indiana fans were sent reeling, before Tom Crean was hired to pen a redemption song (a task he completed in five tidy years), Sampson's one unmarred season was punctuated by the signing of the kind of recruit that is supposed to keep a coach gainfully employed for quite some time. Sampson convinced Eric Gordon, Jr., who had previously verbally committed to Illinois, to leave the Illini and come to IU instead. It was a big deal.
We know how that 2007-08 season ended: Gordon and forward D.J. White were good, and Indiana went 25-8. But when IU compliance staff self-reported phone violations by Sampson, the program soon fractured into smithereens. Gordon left for the NBA. Everyone else transferred. Recriminations abounded. When Crean got close enough to gaze into the abyss, Kyle Taber and Brett Finkelmeier were all that gazed back. Shudder.
Gordon's experience -- from the sanctions and turmoil to teammates who preferred getting high to playing basketball, as he later told reporters -- was not the kind that leaves a tight-knit family like his particularly predisposed to a repeat performance.
Which is why it was such a surprise to see his younger brother, Evan Gordon, announce his decision to transfer to Indiana for the 2013-14 season, as first reported by the Indianapolis Star Wednesday morning. But Gordon, who played two seasons at Liberty before transferring to Arizona State in 2012-13, wanted to move closer to home to pursue his a graduate degree in sports administration. After making visits to Butler and IU, Gordon chose the Hoosiers. Inside The Hall's Alex Bozich spoke to Gordon about the decision, and neither he nor Eric seem to harbor any ill will over the past.
In any case, Gordon brings a handful of things to Indiana. In the immediate future -- he can play right away -- he offers a capable, veteran guard who can score, albeit one who could be a bit more accurate from the field: Gordon shot 45.5 percent from two and 34.7 percent from 3 in 2012-13, averaging 10.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. He can also handle the ball without turning it over often, which will help alleviate some of the pressure the team's lone returning starter, sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell, will feel in his new role as both lead scorer and facilitator.
In the long run, Gordon might just offer an inroads to the other Gordon brother, Eron Gordon, a class of 2016 prospect from Indianapolis considered by some to be the best player of the three. That can't hurt, either.