Monday, February 19, 2018
Sports

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 (Kan.) 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 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 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 and enroll in a prep school (most likely Hargraves (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 to 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."

Durham on the mend: Tampa Prep's Juwan Durham tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Feb. 17. The injury usually takes about 10 months to fully recover. Durham, though, has accelerated his timetable, so much that the rising senior could return to full basketball activities as early as August.

"Juwan's had tremendous progress," Terrapins coach Joe Fenlon said. "He's ahead of schedule."

Durham continues his rehabilitation three days a week, lifting weights and going through resistance training. He already is in the gym shooting jumpers.

This summer was supposed to be a big one for Durham, one of the most coveted recruits in the country. The 6-foot-11 power forward is a five-star recruit who has 15 offers from major Division I schools.

He was supposed to visit UConn, Syracuse and Villanova during his spring break but those trips were pushed back to the fall because of his injury. Last month, Durham went to Louisville and he is going to a team camp June 19-21 at Miami. He also is scheduled to meet with new Florida coach Mike White this summer, but the date has not been set.

As far as basketball, Fenlon said he hopes to have Durham back by September or October.

"It could be sooner than that the way things are going," Fenlon said. "But we certainly are not trying to rush anything. Juwan has too much at stake and too much a future ahead of him to push anything too hard. I'd be ecstatic if he were able to be back with us by September or October. Right now, everything is moving in the right direction."

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.

Quick shots: Seffner Christian's Kent Hegarty signed with Division II Harding in Arkansas. He averaged a team-high 16.5 points and 6.4 rebounds and led the Crusaders to the Class 3A region semifinals. …Plant's Tyler Beale signed with Marymount University. The 6-10 center averaged 6.5 points and 6.1 rebounds this past season.

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

Comments
Girls basketball: A look at Tuesday’s region games

Girls basketball: A look at Tuesday’s region games

All games at 7 p.m.Class 9AAlonso (22-2) at Orlando Oak Ridge (16-12)What to know: The Ravens must hit the road for the semifinals, and it could be a tough matchup. The Pioneers had no trouble in their district tournament and won the first region gam...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Video: Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick gives advice to Little Leaguers

Video: Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick gives advice to Little Leaguers

Ryan Fitzpatrick is an unrestricted free agent, and his future with the Bucs remains uncertain. But the veteran quarterback is still very much here in Tampa and still sharing his wisdom with younger athletes.In this case, they're much younger —...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
Live from Port Charlotte: First full squad workout

Live from Port Charlotte: First full squad workout

The Rays held their first full squad workout today, though RF Steven Souza Jr., did not work out because of a family matter. He had already reported to camp.More fallout from Saturday's Jake Odorizzi trade and DFA'ing of Corey Dickerson. This time fr...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Better ‘D’ starts at home with Lightning

Better ‘D’ starts at home with Lightning

TAMPA – The Lightning still might land that top tier defenseman it certainly needs by the Feb. 26 trade deadline. But if that player was wearing a Tampa Bay sweater Saturday, would the outcome against the Devils have been any different?The Ligh...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Boys basketball: Top seed Carrollwood Day dominant from start

CLEARWATER — Pressure, intensity and energy.In Saturday's Class 4A-4 district title game at Calvary Christian, Carrollwood Day's six-man rotation put the heat squarely and constantly on Tampa Prep. Playing up-tempo offense behind savvy poi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rumor mill: What Lightning might do at trade deadline

Rumor mill: What Lightning might do at trade deadline

Reports and rumors involving the Lightning leading up to the NHL trade deadline on Feb. 26:Feb. 17A smaller move could pay big dividendsIf you look at the history of recent Stanley Cup champions, their pivotal moves were subtle, not splashy, the Time...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida Gators to start spring ball with two open practice sessions

Florida Gators to start spring ball with two open practice sessions

The Florida Gators will begin the first spring practice of the Dan Mullen era with two sessions open to the public.The team's March 16 and 17 workouts will be open for fans to attend. UF hasn't yet announced the start times.UF also announced that it ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings for Tampa Bay

HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings for Tampa Bay

1. Land O'Lakes (2-0)Up next: Tuesday vs. Wesley Chapel; Wednesday vs. Cypress CreekThe buzz: The Class 6A defending state champion is in a good position to make another run at a title. A majority of the starting lineup returns, including the Ta...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Kevin Kiermaier sounds off on Rays’ weekend moves: ‘I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset’

Kevin Kiermaier sounds off on Rays’ weekend moves: ‘I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset’

Standout CF Kevin Kiermaier made very clear Monday what he thought of the Rays' weekend decisions to part ways with veteran OF/DH Corey Dickerson and RHP Jake Odorizzi:"I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset with the moves. No beating around the ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Fergie’s NBA All-Star Game national anthem confuses, amuses

Fergie’s NBA All-Star Game national anthem confuses, amuses

LOS ANGELES — Fergie tried something different with her national anthem at the NBA All-Star Game, and not everybody was cheering.The Black Eyed Peas singer's slow, bluesy rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" on Sunday night wasn't particular...
Updated: 3 hours ago