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Basketball recruiting: Shift from football pays off for Dunedin’s Andrew Gordon

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Wed. May 27, 2015 | Bob Putnam | Email

Basketball recruiting: Shift from football pays off for Dunedin’s Andrew Gordon

Andrew Gordon’s plan all along was to play football in college. The Dunedin defensive end wreaked havoc on opposing offenses all season. In the Pinellas County senior all-star game, he was named defensive MVP. 

The only hold back was academics. Gordon did not have the grade-point average or test score to qualify so he signed with Garden City Community College.

It seemed his future was set. Then Gordon decided to play basketball for the first time this year because he said he wanted to stay busy.

The 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward thrived, averaging 9.8 points and 2.5 rebounds to help the Falcons reach the playoffs for the first time since 2002 and win a postseason game for the first time since 1968. 

Gordon’s stock continued to soar playing basketball for Team Speights on a national travel circuit this spring. He now has offers from several big-time schools including Florida Gulf Coast, Memphis, Richmond and Xavier. 

“I didn’t think everything would happen this fast for me in basketball,” Gordon said.

Aaron Holmes, who coaches Gordon with Team Speights, said the potential in basketball was always there.

“I watched Andrew play in a high school game this season, and it took me 10 minutes to realize he could be something special,” Holmes said. “With his height and athleticism, college coaches were going to be enamored with him.

Gordon admits football is his first love. But when forced to weigh factors such as education and longevity in deciding his future, Gordon has concluded the four-year scholarships offered by major Division I colleges in basketball are too hard to pass up. 

Gordon decided to forgo his scholarship to Garden City Community College and enroll in a prep school (most likely Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy) to reclassify as a 2016 recruit in basketball. The offers could continue to pour in after a busy summer of tournaments.

“With Andrew’s size, big things are going to happen,” Holmes said. “By August, he should have 10-20 more Division I offers. The hardest thing was convincing him that basketball was the best route for his future. I think he understands that now.”

Increased expectations: Gibbs’ Barry Brown, who signed with Kansas State in November, has a chance to become a starter as a freshman. 

Six underclassmen have left the Wildcats this year. Marcus Foster, Malek Harris and Tre Harris were each dismissed from the program. Jack Karapetyan, Nigel Johnson and Jevon Thomas all transferred.

Brown, a three-star recruit who averaged 22.9 points as a senior, is one of three guards from the 2015 class competing to replace Johnson and Thomas at the point. 

Earlier this month, Kansas State coach Bruce Weber told a Kansas radio station that Brown could the surprise of this year’s incoming class. 

James picks Bradley: At the start of the season, Tarpon Springs forward Scottie James did not know if he would even get the opportunity to play for a Division I program.

After averaging 19.4 points and 13.8 rebounds per game and leading the Spongers to the state semifinals, James started to get significant interest. He had offers from Division I schools Bradley, Florida Gulf Coast and Wofford and had bigger programs, such as Kansas State, eyeing him the past few months.

James had waited long enough. Two weeks ago, he signed with Bradley during his official visit.

“It was tough because I was getting new schools that were following me every week,” James said. “But I really liked Bradley. I was impressed with the coaching staff, and the engineering program. It just felt like the right place to be.”

James said he most likely will be redshirted his first season.

Staying home: Despite averaging 23 points per game, reaching the 1,000-point plateau in his career and guiding his team to the playoffs the past three seasons, Seminole guard Marco Behori knew that his obstacle in playing at the collegiate level was his height.

Listed at 5 feet, 11 inches, Behori showed that tall isn’t all when measuring potential recruits. Earlier this month, Behori signed with Eckerd, giving him a chance to continue playing locally.

Behori is the third Tampa Bay area player on the Tritons’ roster, joining Keshawn Ingram (Steinbrenner) and Steven Pasquali (Clearwater Central Catholic).

Whirlwind for Banks: Darius Banks, who helped St. Petersburg reach the Class 8A state semifinals, will not have much time off this summer. 

The rising junior, who is a three-star recruit, will be at the Nike Elite 100 camp June 11-14 and the LeBron James Skills Academy camp June 26-30. Banks also will attend the NBA development camp though the date still is to be determined. 

In July, there will be more tournaments and showcase events during the evaluation period for high school prospects. 

This past season, Banks averaged 19 points per game and led the Green Devils to their first state semifinal appearance since 2012. 

Contact Bob Putnam at [email protected] Follow @BobbyHomeTeam.

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