Derrick Gordon’s freshman season at Western Kentucky featured the loss of head coach Ken McDonald and a trip to the NCAA Tourament.
The two normally don’t combine, but the dismissal of McDonald halfway through the season came as no suprise for a squad that was struggling to reach an overall winning percentage of .500.
Yet, the Hilltoppers, lead in the back court by Gordon, rallied late in Sun Belt Conference play, advancing through the conference tournament and earning the league’s automatic bid to the Big Dance.
WKU fell to top-seeded Kentucky in the Round of 64 and shortly after the conclusion of their season, Gordon made the decision to transfer after just one year.
A native of New Jersey, Gordon was set to look elsewhere with the hopes of returning closer to home. The 6-foot-2 point guard, according to CBSSports.com’s Jeff Goodman, listed the following schools: URI, LaSalle, UMass, St. Joseph’s, Kent State, Seton Hall, Marquette, and Virginia Tech.
Of the eight listed teams, four of them are members of the Atlantic 10 Conference, and two of which will get the first cracks at impressing Gordon.
UMass, fresh off a run to the NIT semifinal round this past season, is expected to return a number of talented players next season, instantly raising an expectation that the Minutemen should threaten for a spot in the NCAA Tournament in 2013. UMass has not qualified for the tournament since 1998.
Head coach Derek Kellogg and the Amherst-based campus will get the first shot at landing Gordon, as the guard will pay the school a visit this upcoming weekend.
Alex Kline of the Recruit Scoop cites “sources” who believe UMass may be in great shape for the guard’s future services:
Sources say UMass is in great shape to land Western Kentucky transfer Derrick Gordon, who will visit this weekend.
— Alex Kline (@TheRecruitScoop) April 19, 2012
As for Gordon himself, he appears excited for the visit to Massachusetts:
Visiting UMass this weekend…I can’t wait
— Derrick Gordon (@Derrick5Gordon) April 19, 2012
While UMass will look to impress Gordon from the start, the transfer will also pay a visit to A-10 rival St. Joe’s this upcoming Tuesday. Given that Gordon’s list of teams currently stands at eight, other visits can be expected later in the process as well, although that remains to be seen at this time.
Gordon will have to sit out the 2012-13 season at whichever school he chooses due to the NCAA’s rule on transfers. Current UMass point guard and junior-to-be Chaz Williams, a one-time transfer in his own right (Hofstra), burst onto the scene in the A-10 this past season, his first under Kellogg.
Gordon averaged 11.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game this past season at Western Kentucky.