FORT WAYNE – Fifth-year transfer Evan Gordon is new to the Indiana roster, but the Arizona State transfer cant act like it.
Gordon took a lengthy path to Bloomington that featured a two-year stint at Liberty before transferring to join the Sun Devils. He has averaged double-digit points all three years, including 10.1 points for Arizona State last year.
And on a young Hoosiers team, the 6-foot-3 guard cant act like a new guy. He had to take a leadership role right away.
Me starting out college when some of these guys were in eighth grade, thats a little bit of an advantage, Gordon said jokingly. Leadership, knowing situation and knowing, you know, how to push through things guys arent used to in some of these workouts.
Evan Gordon is the younger brother of former Hoosier Eric Gordon, and he has an understanding of the programs history that is rare for a newcomer.
Evans been through it. Hes a veteran in college basketball, assistant coach Kenny Johnson said. He obviously has a little bit more of an understanding of the tradition of the program than maybe someone else from a different background, but hes able to explain to the freshmen what we do. Hes able to take the sophomores and teach them how to compete.
And competition is just what IU needs.
Gordon and reigning Big Ten sixth man of the year Will Sheehey are the only two scholarship seniors this season.
While Sheehey and sophomore point guard Kevin Yogi Ferrell will carry the bulk of the leadership role, the Hoosiers needed a player to help fill in the gaps and show incoming players how to adjust to college. That was especially important after the departures of Maurice Creek and Remy Abell, a pair of guards who transferred to George Washington and Xavier.
Enter Gordon, who has a graduate exception waiver that allows him to play right away for IU despite transferring.
The expectations are a lot higher, and thats what I expected, Gordon said. Me coming here, the first thing is, wow, I got to adapt again. These guys are a totally different group than Ive ever experienced.
IU has a more talented group, more competitive group and more vocal group than Gordon was a part of at ASU and Liberty. And Gordon brings more than leadership to the Hoosiers.
I think the No. 1 thing that people might not know about Evan that hes bringing to the table is his competitive nature, Johnson said. Hes a physical guard. Hes someone whos very prideful. He comes from a family that works, so hes used to putting in the extra work that we talk about outside of our hours.
Gordon isnt his older brother, who was the No. 7 pick in the 2008 NBA draft and plays for the New Orleans Pelicans.
However, hes what the Hoosiers need right now.
Thats been his biggest thing that hes done for us since hes been here, Johnson said. He is that perfect veteran leader that you would expect from a senior guard stepping into this program.