University of Massachusetts graduate transfer Derrick Gordon announced on Twitter that he will be joining the Seton Hall program on Sunday.
It's been a long recruiting process…But happy to say I will be going to Seton Hall University!!!…Can't wait to play for Coach Willard..
— Derrick Gordon (@flash2gordon) May 17, 2015
“It’s a win-win situation for me for a number of reasons,” Gordon added in an interview with The Setonian. “For one, being able to play for Coach Willard – he’s a great coach – and I’ll be able to play to my full potential for my last year.”
Gordon cited Willard’s attitude toward the game and said he appreciates that he allows his guys to go out and play. He talked about how persistent Willard and associate head coach Shaheen Holloway were during the recruiting process.
“He (Willard) recruited me when I was leaving Western Kentucky,” Gordon said. “He came after me again. The way he was pursuing me was something I didn’t want to pass up. He just kept at it and at it … I’m definitely looking forward to getting to know him more and the staff and the rest of the players.”
Holloway played a major role in the recruiting process, as he and Gordon are both graduates of St. Patrick High School (N.J.), which is now known as The Patrick School.
A native of Plainfield, N.J., Gordon also said he is happy to get the chance to play in his home state.
Gordon is a shooting guard who joins the Pirates as an immediately eligible player. At 6 feet 3 inches and 205 pounds, he is a strong defender, solid on the glass and can attack the rim. He started all 32 games for UMass last season, putting up averages of 28.4 minutes, 4.9 rebounds and 9.8 points. Having played in two NCAA Tournaments, Gordon also brings a winning attitude and mindset to South Orange. He hopes he can take Seton Hall to that next level.
“There’s a lot of potential to do great things,” Gordon said. “I believe if we handle our business and do what we’re supposed to we can make things happen.”
He mentioned how much a championship of some sort would mean in his final season.
Gordon said he is excited to bring what he has to the table to make those things happen and that he can be a complete package for the Pirates.
“(I’m) a player that’s going to come in that’s hungry,” he said. “I’m desperate for wins. I love winning; I’m a winner. I’m going to do whatever it takes to win. I love to play defense and go out there and guard the best players on the other team and shut them down and stop them from scoring. I can rebound the ball well. I can score. I can do a little bit of everything.”
In 2014 Gordon became the first NCAA Division I men’s basketball player to come out as gay and play in a game after he opened up to ESPN. He said that he was not concerned with how his sexuality would be received at a Catholic school like Seton Hall.
“That didn’t affect me at all to be honest,” Gordon said. “I wasn’t worrying about that. I was worrying about how can this program help me and if this program is a good fit for me. All that other stuff didn’t play a role at all.”
Generally speaking, Gordon realizes that no matter where he goes people will be divided in their support of him.
“Our society right now – regardless of wherever you go, whether it’s a Catholic school or not – there are going to be people that are going to accept you and then there are going to be people who don’t,” he explained. “That’s just life. That’s just how it is.”
In an interview with Seton Hall’s student radio station, WSOU, Gordon said that he had a “welcoming” meeting with Seton Hall president Gabriel Esteban.
This is now the second transfer of Gordon’s career. He originally played at Western Kentucky before transferring to UMass after the 2012 season. He had considered Seton Hall then, but ultimately decided on the Minutemen while the Pirates picked up Sterling Gibbs following his departure from Texas.
Gibbs announced on Saturday that he will be going to the University of Connecticut following his transfer from Seton Hall.
Gordon will be one of the few veterans on Seton Hall’s roster next year after the loss of Gibbs and Jaren Sina. The Hall will be headlined by a sophomore class that includes Isaiah Whitehead, Angel Delgado, Khadeen Carrington and Desi Rodriguez. Whitehead, Delgado and Carrington all went to Twitter on Sunday to welcome their newest teammate.
Excited to welcome @flash2gordon to the family , let's get it done bro
— Khadeen Carrington (@kcarrington11) May 17, 2015
As USA Today points out, the news of Gordon’s commitment comes just days after popular Seton Hall Rev. Warren Hall was removed as director of Campus Ministry by the Archbishop of Newark. Hall claims he was dismissed for a Facebook post that supported LGBT rights.
Gordon said the incident had no effect on his decision.
Gary Phillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @GPhillips2727.