Eron Gordon‘s newest scholarship offer, from LSU, might seem a bit random considering the timing – entering his senior year – and the distance from home.
But there is a tie to Louisiana with Gordon’s oldest brother, Eric, playing for the New Orleans Pelicans. LSU will be in to see Gordon, a 6-3 Cathedral guard, on Friday at the Adidas Invitational at North Central.
“(LSU) is one of the top contenders now,” said Gordon, who also listed Indiana, Butler and Arizona State. “I talked with the coach (Johnny Jones) and he thought I was committed to Indiana. That happens a lot.”
Of course, there’s a connection at Indiana, where both of Eron’s brothers – Eric and Evan – played in college. But there’s no guarantee that Eron ends up in Bloomington, which he has said throughout his recruitment. He said he’s plans to visit LSU, potentially as one of his official visits.
“That’s definitely one of the spots I might take an official,” he said.
Gordon’s team, the Eric Gordon Central Stars, fell to a loaded UPlay Canada team 68-54 on its first pool play game on Wednesday, the first day of the July evaluation period. Butler assistant Michael Lewis was among the coaches sitting courtside. Gordon, ranked No. 81 in the 2016 class by Rivals, finished with a team-high 17 points.
LSU is bringing in a strong 2015 recruiting class, which appeals to Gordon.
“That’s somewhere I could definitely see myself going,” he said. “It’s definitely a place with a lot of potential and is growing as a basketball program. That’s one thing we’ve talked about is growing with the program. They’ve actually had a lot of great players go through there but it’s been a while since they’ve been (strong).”
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>> Last year’s Evansville Reitz team was one of the most exciting teams in Indiana high school basketball in recent seasons, finishing as state runner-up in Class 4A to Homestead.
A big reason for Reitz’s success was the play of guard Dru Smith. The high-energy 6-2 guard wasn’t a big-time scorer (10.5 ppg) but filled the stat sheet in other ways (5.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.6 steals).
“On that team, I tried to play hard defense and get our fast breaks going,” Smith said. “I feel like colleges like how I play on the defensive end. My senior year I’m going to have to score a lot more.”
Smith has offers from Ball State, Evansville, Indiana State, Northern Kentucky and South Alabama. Bradley, Loyola (Ill.) and Saint Louis have also been in contact and all had coaches at his game with Pocket City on Wednesday night at North Central. Butler’s Lewis also watched his game before watching Gordon. Evansville coach Marty Simmons and Ball State coach James Whitford were also in attendance.
“I’m just kind of waiting through July before I sit down and figure everything out,” Smith said. “I’ll probably take two or three official visits. I kind of want to play uptempo, but mostly I’m looking for a program that is going in the right direction. I’d like to make an impact right away but I don’t expect to be given anything.”
Smith’s most recent visit was to Ball State.
“They were talking about how they develop their players and that they are really going to go after Indiana players,” Smith said.
>> Adida Ikongshul’s name might not ring a bell to those who follow Indiana high school basketball, but there’s a good reason for that – the 6-6 Nigeria native has been in the United States less than a year.
Ikongshul attended Madison Shawe last year as a junior and averaged 21.2 points and 12.6 rebounds for the Class A program. Ikongshul plans to transfer to 3A Madison for his senior year, though he said he’s still awaiting word from the Indiana High School Athletic Association as to his athletic eligibility.
Ikongshul’s athletic ability is not in question. A former volleyball player in Nigeria, Ikongshul said he rarely played basketball in his native country. But Division I programs see the progress he’s made already. Western Michigan become the first to offer him a scholarship during a visit at the end of June.
“It was a big adjustment for me,” Ikongshul said of his first season playing basketball in Indiana. “But it’s a land of opportunity here. That’s the way I see it. If you’re willing to work hard, you can make things happen for yourself. Come here, I was just an athletic kid. I still have a lot to learn.”
Ikongshul, who is playing this summer with the Indiana Elite Central 2016 team, said he’s working on his ballhandling and shooting to become a more well-rounded player. Other schools showing interest in him at this point include Illinois-Chicago, Austin Peay, Western Kentucky, Illinois State and Cornell.
Ikongshul said he’s on track academically to be a 2016 recruit.
“If basketball takes me somewhere that’s great, but the most important thing is to have my degree to fall back on,” he said.
>> Cloverdale junior-to-be Cooper Neese plans to visit Iowa on Oct. 31. Neese, a 6-3 guard who averaged 17.1 points as a sophomore, is receiving interest from a number of other schools, including Indiana State, Cornell, UNC-Greensboro, Lipscomb, Belmont, Kent State, Saint Louis, Denver, IUPUI, Western Illinois and Southern Illinois.
Call Star reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.