Eric Gordon confirms it: Drugs pulled last year’s team apart

  • 12/17/2008 9:54 pm in

I’m sitting on my couch now — I tend to do that a lot in the evening — and I’m watching Eric Gordon for the first time this season, as his Clippers are taking on my Bulls. I had almost forgotten how he played, but his first drive to the bucket snapped my memory back to its right place: he’s so strong, so smooth, he just looks like he belongs on a basketball court. This is what he was born to do. I love his game.

So, it was sort of random happenstance that Jeff Rabjohns of the Indianapolis Star dropped this exclusive interview with Eric Gordon this evening. And, in agreement with that Sports Illustrated article from October, it looks like a lot of kids were doing drugs on the team.

“It was the guys that were doing drugs that were separate,” Gordon told The Indianapolis Star in an exclusive phone interview this week, speaking publicly for the first time about the issues that played a part in a once top 10 team failing to win a single postseason game.

[ … ]

Gordon didn’t disclose which players used drugs, but he said D.J. White and two others still on the team were among those who did not. Attempts to reach White and several other former players were not successful.

Gordon said Sampson “tried to stop it,” but the coach “was just so focused on basketball and winning and everything.”

Gordon said he spent considerable time with a family friend in Bloomington because the atmosphere around some players was so bad he didn’t feel comfortable on campus.

“Sometimes it felt like it wasn’t even a real basketball team because of all the turmoil that went on,” said Gordon, now a starting guard for the Los Angeles Clippers. “I was just thinking about that the other day. It was so crazy that all that stuff threw off a good season and made it a waste, basically.

“It was really tough for us to be around each other all the time off the court because we were so separate.”

At this point, there’s really no need to dig much deeper here: it is what it is. We knew some of these kids were troubled, and we were pretty certain DJ and Eric rose above it. (Oh, and Kyle Taber and Brett Finkelmeier too.)

Here’s my only comment: How much drugs were all the other guys really doing? I mean, the way Gordon makes it sound, it’s like when these kids weren’t on the court, they were high all the time. To the point where you wouldn’t even think to see them or hang out with them, because they were smoking, or snorting, or injecting or doing whatever.

Yeesh. Was it really that bad?

For what it’s worth: Looks like Cobra Brigade was maybe at least half right.

Filed to:

  • MPmike

    One of the articles states that Adam Ahfeld was not involved with drugs, so your statement is not true. He said that he knew about the team doing drugs.

  • MPmike

    One of the articles states that Adam Ahfeld was not involved with drugs, so your statement is not true. He said that he knew about the team doing drugs.

  • MPmike

    One of the articles states that Adam Ahfeld was not involved with drugs, so your statement is not true. He said that he knew about the team doing drugs.

  • MPmike

    One of the articles states that Adam Ahfeld was not involved with drugs, so your statement is not true. He said that he knew about the team doing drugs.

  • MPmike

    One of the articles states that Adam Ahfeld was not involved with drugs, so your statement is not true. He said that he knew about the team doing drugs.

  • MPmike

    One of the articles states that Adam Ahfeld was not involved with drugs, so your statement is not true. He said that he knew about the team doing drugs.

  • BGleas

    I think you're being pretty unfair to Dakich. How long was he even in the position of Director of BBall Ops? Not long at all before being named assistant coach. Also, several of the offending players last season were new to the program, it takes a while to learn the new players as people, and you don't just kick someone off the team for a first offense.

    Dakich took over the team in almost an impossible situation. If had begun kicking players off the team from the get go he would have been destroyed by the fans, he almost was anyways because of some of the losses.

    It's really to sit here and criticize him when you have no idea what the real situation was.

  • BGleas

    I think you're being pretty unfair to Dakich. How long was he even in the position of Director of BBall Ops? Not long at all before being named assistant coach. Also, several of the offending players last season were new to the program, it takes a while to learn the new players as people, and you don't just kick someone off the team for a first offense.

    Dakich took over the team in almost an impossible situation. If had begun kicking players off the team from the get go he would have been destroyed by the fans, he almost was anyways because of some of the losses.

    It's really to sit here and criticize him when you have no idea what the real situation was.

  • BGleas

    I think you're being pretty unfair to Dakich. How long was he even in the position of Director of BBall Ops? Not long at all before being named assistant coach. Also, several of the offending players last season were new to the program, it takes a while to learn the new players as people, and you don't just kick someone off the team for a first offense.

    Dakich took over the team in almost an impossible situation. If had begun kicking players off the team from the get go he would have been destroyed by the fans, he almost was anyways because of some of the losses.

    It's really to sit here and criticize him when you have no idea what the real situation was.

  • BGleas

    I think you're being pretty unfair to Dakich. How long was he even in the position of Director of BBall Ops? Not long at all before being named assistant coach. Also, several of the offending players last season were new to the program, it takes a while to learn the new players as people, and you don't just kick someone off the team for a first offense.

    Dakich took over the team in almost an impossible situation. If had begun kicking players off the team from the get go he would have been destroyed by the fans, he almost was anyways because of some of the losses.

    It's really to sit here and criticize him when you have no idea what the real situation was.

  • BGleas

    I think you're being pretty unfair to Dakich. How long was he even in the position of Director of BBall Ops? Not long at all before being named assistant coach. Also, several of the offending players last season were new to the program, it takes a while to learn the new players as people, and you don't just kick someone off the team for a first offense.

    Dakich took over the team in almost an impossible situation. If had begun kicking players off the team from the get go he would have been destroyed by the fans, he almost was anyways because of some of the losses.

    It's really to sit here and criticize him when you have no idea what the real situation was.

  • BGleas

    I think you're being pretty unfair to Dakich. How long was he even in the position of Director of BBall Ops? Not long at all before being named assistant coach. Also, several of the offending players last season were new to the program, it takes a while to learn the new players as people, and you don't just kick someone off the team for a first offense.

    Dakich took over the team in almost an impossible situation. If had begun kicking players off the team from the get go he would have been destroyed by the fans, he almost was anyways because of some of the losses.

    It's really to sit here and criticize him when you have no idea what the real situation was.

  • BGleas

    I think you're being pretty unfair to Dakich. How long was he even in the position of Director of BBall Ops? Not long at all before being named assistant coach. Also, several of the offending players last season were new to the program, it takes a while to learn the new players as people, and you don't just kick someone off the team for a first offense.

    Dakich took over the team in almost an impossible situation. If had begun kicking players off the team from the get go he would have been destroyed by the fans, he almost was anyways because of some of the losses.

    It's really to sit here and criticize him when you have no idea what the real situation was.

  • junkman

    It would be even easier for him to address these issues on his radio show…But he won't

    I didn't know you needed time with the players to tell them that excessive drug use would not be tolerated. Sampson knew what was going on and most of the campus did as well…

    If Dan wants to remove himself from this position than he should have acted in the best interest of the program for the duration of his tenure…

    He doesn't get the luxury of being told that he is not going to return as head coach, and then dismiss two players and call his effort of restoring order to the program a full and valiant effort…it wasn't and he shouldn't be excused from the problems that took place and how they were handled while HE WAS IN CHARGE OF SUPERVISING THEM…

    I don't care if you have a substitute teacher in high school, if they catch you cheating on a test, than you should be held accountable…you excusing him because he was the interim coach and the potential backlash that would have taken place had he done what was right is pretty close to condoning the behavior that the team displayed… Something that Dakich's lack of action clearly did…He was an enabler and is only getting a free pass because he is an “IU” guy…

    Its garbage and so was his judgement

  • junkman

    It would be even easier for him to address these issues on his radio show…But he won't

    I didn't know you needed time with the players to tell them that excessive drug use would not be tolerated. Sampson knew what was going on and most of the campus did as well…

    If Dan wants to remove himself from this position than he should have acted in the best interest of the program for the duration of his tenure…

    He doesn't get the luxury of being told that he is not going to return as head coach, and then dismiss two players and call his effort of restoring order to the program a full and valiant effort…it wasn't and he shouldn't be excused from the problems that took place and how they were handled while HE WAS IN CHARGE OF SUPERVISING THEM…

    I don't care if you have a substitute teacher in high school, if they catch you cheating on a test, than you should be held accountable…you excusing him because he was the interim coach and the potential backlash that would have taken place had he done what was right is pretty close to condoning the behavior that the team displayed… Something that Dakich's lack of action clearly did…He was an enabler and is only getting a free pass because he is an “IU” guy…

    Its garbage and so was his judgement

  • junkman

    It would be even easier for him to address these issues on his radio show…But he won't

    I didn't know you needed time with the players to tell them that excessive drug use would not be tolerated. Sampson knew what was going on and most of the campus did as well…

    If Dan wants to remove himself from this position than he should have acted in the best interest of the program for the duration of his tenure…

    He doesn't get the luxury of being told that he is not going to return as head coach, and then dismiss two players and call his effort of restoring order to the program a full and valiant effort…it wasn't and he shouldn't be excused from the problems that took place and how they were handled while HE WAS IN CHARGE OF SUPERVISING THEM…

    I don't care if you have a substitute teacher in high school, if they catch you cheating on a test, than you should be held accountable…you excusing him because he was the interim coach and the potential backlash that would have taken place had he done what was right is pretty close to condoning the behavior that the team displayed… Something that Dakich's lack of action clearly did…He was an enabler and is only getting a free pass because he is an “IU” guy…

    Its garbage and so was his judgement

  • junkman

    It would be even easier for him to address these issues on his radio show…But he won't

    I didn't know you needed time with the players to tell them that excessive drug use would not be tolerated. Sampson knew what was going on and most of the campus did as well…

    If Dan wants to remove himself from this position than he should have acted in the best interest of the program for the duration of his tenure…

    He doesn't get the luxury of being told that he is not going to return as head coach, and then dismiss two players and call his effort of restoring order to the program a full and valiant effort…it wasn't and he shouldn't be excused from the problems that took place and how they were handled while HE WAS IN CHARGE OF SUPERVISING THEM…

    I don't care if you have a substitute teacher in high school, if they catch you cheating on a test, than you should be held accountable…you excusing him because he was the interim coach and the potential backlash that would have taken place had he done what was right is pretty close to condoning the behavior that the team displayed… Something that Dakich's lack of action clearly did…He was an enabler and is only getting a free pass because he is an “IU” guy…

    Its garbage and so was his judgement

  • junkman

    It would be even easier for him to address these issues on his radio show…But he won't

    I didn't know you needed time with the players to tell them that excessive drug use would not be tolerated. Sampson knew what was going on and most of the campus did as well…

    If Dan wants to remove himself from this position than he should have acted in the best interest of the program for the duration of his tenure…

    He doesn't get the luxury of being told that he is not going to return as head coach, and then dismiss two players and call his effort of restoring order to the program a full and valiant effort…it wasn't and he shouldn't be excused from the problems that took place and how they were handled while HE WAS IN CHARGE OF SUPERVISING THEM…

    I don't care if you have a substitute teacher in high school, if they catch you cheating on a test, than you should be held accountable…you excusing him because he was the interim coach and the potential backlash that would have taken place had he done what was right is pretty close to condoning the behavior that the team displayed… Something that Dakich's lack of action clearly did…He was an enabler and is only getting a free pass because he is an “IU” guy…

    Its garbage and so was his judgement

  • junkman

    It would be even easier for him to address these issues on his radio show…But he won't

    I didn't know you needed time with the players to tell them that excessive drug use would not be tolerated. Sampson knew what was going on and most of the campus did as well…

    If Dan wants to remove himself from this position than he should have acted in the best interest of the program for the duration of his tenure…

    He doesn't get the luxury of being told that he is not going to return as head coach, and then dismiss two players and call his effort of restoring order to the program a full and valiant effort…it wasn't and he shouldn't be excused from the problems that took place and how they were handled while HE WAS IN CHARGE OF SUPERVISING THEM…

    I don't care if you have a substitute teacher in high school, if they catch you cheating on a test, than you should be held accountable…you excusing him because he was the interim coach and the potential backlash that would have taken place had he done what was right is pretty close to condoning the behavior that the team displayed… Something that Dakich's lack of action clearly did…He was an enabler and is only getting a free pass because he is an “IU” guy…

    Its garbage and so was his judgement

  • junkman

    It would be even easier for him to address these issues on his radio show…But he won't

    I didn't know you needed time with the players to tell them that excessive drug use would not be tolerated. Sampson knew what was going on and most of the campus did as well…

    If Dan wants to remove himself from this position than he should have acted in the best interest of the program for the duration of his tenure…

    He doesn't get the luxury of being told that he is not going to return as head coach, and then dismiss two players and call his effort of restoring order to the program a full and valiant effort…it wasn't and he shouldn't be excused from the problems that took place and how they were handled while HE WAS IN CHARGE OF SUPERVISING THEM…

    I don't care if you have a substitute teacher in high school, if they catch you cheating on a test, than you should be held accountable…you excusing him because he was the interim coach and the potential backlash that would have taken place had he done what was right is pretty close to condoning the behavior that the team displayed… Something that Dakich's lack of action clearly did…He was an enabler and is only getting a free pass because he is an “IU” guy…

    Its garbage and so was his judgement

  • BGleas

    I guess the difference here is that I live in the real world where there are shades of grey to situations like this. Your fantasy world where decisions like this are simple and easy must be nice.

    I am not a Dakich apologist because he's an “IU guy”. I was one of many that hammered him on this and other blogs because he dismissed two players basically the day before Crean was hired. At the time I felt it should have been Crean's decision, not the decision of a lame-duck coach.

    Now I commend him for his actions and I respect him for not airing the dirty laundry in public. Why does he have to tell you what really happened on his radio show? He doesn't have to do that and I respect him for it. He's taking heat from people like you when he probably could avoid it by speaking publicly, but he has class and isn't throwing people under the bus on public radio.

  • BGleas

    I guess the difference here is that I live in the real world where there are shades of grey to situations like this. Your fantasy world where decisions like this are simple and easy must be nice.

    I am not a Dakich apologist because he's an “IU guy”. I was one of many that hammered him on this and other blogs because he dismissed two players basically the day before Crean was hired. At the time I felt it should have been Crean's decision, not the decision of a lame-duck coach.

    Now I commend him for his actions and I respect him for not airing the dirty laundry in public. Why does he have to tell you what really happened on his radio show? He doesn't have to do that and I respect him for it. He's taking heat from people like you when he probably could avoid it by speaking publicly, but he has class and isn't throwing people under the bus on public radio.

  • BGleas

    I guess the difference here is that I live in the real world where there are shades of grey to situations like this. Your fantasy world where decisions like this are simple and easy must be nice.

    I am not a Dakich apologist because he's an “IU guy”. I was one of many that hammered him on this and other blogs because he dismissed two players basically the day before Crean was hired. At the time I felt it should have been Crean's decision, not the decision of a lame-duck coach.

    Now I commend him for his actions and I respect him for not airing the dirty laundry in public. Why does he have to tell you what really happened on his radio show? He doesn't have to do that and I respect him for it. He's taking heat from people like you when he probably could avoid it by speaking publicly, but he has class and isn't throwing people under the bus on public radio.

  • BGleas

    I guess the difference here is that I live in the real world where there are shades of grey to situations like this. Your fantasy world where decisions like this are simple and easy must be nice.

    I am not a Dakich apologist because he's an “IU guy”. I was one of many that hammered him on this and other blogs because he dismissed two players basically the day before Crean was hired. At the time I felt it should have been Crean's decision, not the decision of a lame-duck coach.

    Now I commend him for his actions and I respect him for not airing the dirty laundry in public. Why does he have to tell you what really happened on his radio show? He doesn't have to do that and I respect him for it. He's taking heat from people like you when he probably could avoid it by speaking publicly, but he has class and isn't throwing people under the bus on public radio.

  • BGleas

    I guess the difference here is that I live in the real world where there are shades of grey to situations like this. Your fantasy world where decisions like this are simple and easy must be nice.

    I am not a Dakich apologist because he's an “IU guy”. I was one of many that hammered him on this and other blogs because he dismissed two players basically the day before Crean was hired. At the time I felt it should have been Crean's decision, not the decision of a lame-duck coach.

    Now I commend him for his actions and I respect him for not airing the dirty laundry in public. Why does he have to tell you what really happened on his radio show? He doesn't have to do that and I respect him for it. He's taking heat from people like you when he probably could avoid it by speaking publicly, but he has class and isn't throwing people under the bus on public radio.

  • BGleas

    I guess the difference here is that I live in the real world where there are shades of grey to situations like this. Your fantasy world where decisions like this are simple and easy must be nice.

    I am not a Dakich apologist because he's an “IU guy”. I was one of many that hammered him on this and other blogs because he dismissed two players basically the day before Crean was hired. At the time I felt it should have been Crean's decision, not the decision of a lame-duck coach.

    Now I commend him for his actions and I respect him for not airing the dirty laundry in public. Why does he have to tell you what really happened on his radio show? He doesn't have to do that and I respect him for it. He's taking heat from people like you when he probably could avoid it by speaking publicly, but he has class and isn't throwing people under the bus on public radio.

  • BGleas

    I guess the difference here is that I live in the real world where there are shades of grey to situations like this. Your fantasy world where decisions like this are simple and easy must be nice.

    I am not a Dakich apologist because he's an “IU guy”. I was one of many that hammered him on this and other blogs because he dismissed two players basically the day before Crean was hired. At the time I felt it should have been Crean's decision, not the decision of a lame-duck coach.

    Now I commend him for his actions and I respect him for not airing the dirty laundry in public. Why does he have to tell you what really happened on his radio show? He doesn't have to do that and I respect him for it. He's taking heat from people like you when he probably could avoid it by speaking publicly, but he has class and isn't throwing people under the bus on public radio.

  • IU fan in Boston

    I have it on pretty good authority that it was indeed more serious drugs, including cocaine.

  • BGleas

    I have to disagree with your original point, even as casual a drug as pot, can certainly tear a team apart. I played D2 basketball, of course not near the level of IU, but my senior year we had a pretty good team, we even started our 12-game conference schedule 5-1. But the team became fractured because half the team was doing drugs (some harder than pot) and the other half weren't.

    The half that wasn't doing drugs, wanted no part of hanging out with the half that were. The half that were doing the drugs couldn't figure out why we (I was in the half NOT doing drugs) didn't want to hangout together. Their thought was “you don't have to do drugs, but but you can still come to our party's”.

    We ended the second half of our conference schedule 1-5 and snuck in as the last seed in the playoffs and were bounced in the first round by a team we beat twice in the regular season.

  • junkman

    I don't think anyone suggests that Gordon lacked friends away from the team…far from it…but if his options for a low key night away from AH were to hang out with Ellis and Bassett while they smoked pot and bumped rails all night, I can see why there was some seperation from the team.

    And if you read Gordon's comments, he said that all of this went on while Sampson was there, and that Sampson was aware of it…I'm not sure how that is protecting him…

    The team fell apart because of a lack of leadership, Sampson became a rallying cry for the team and even the students for his last few games of the season, and finally when the University got wind of how bad things really were, they were forced to fire him…As a result the players were without their leader, Dakich was incapable of bringing the team together, McCallom started looking for a new job and the season was lost…

    I'm not nearly as concerned with last season's on court finish as I am with the fact that Dakich and others have cleared themselves of any responsibility in what was going on with the team…

    Frankly, it is probably a good thing that we got bounced last year because if the team got any more national attention, the NCAA would have been more likely to extend our post season ban.

  • junkman

    Dakich is an idiot… He still lives as if he was playing and a hero in Bloomington.

    He wants to protect the locker room, that's fine…than do it while you are the coach. Not after you fail to keep the team in order and cause the biggest meltdown of an athletic program since SMU…

    Frankly, Gordon should be clearing the air on all of this, it will put the future teams under the microscope more and keep them away from situations like we went through and are going through…

    Dakich is a coward for not being able to say that he failed as a leader, as a coach and to blame Gordon for outing his teammates is just stupid…He didn't name names of the players, only of the coaches who were aware of it, and neither Sampson nor Dakich deserve any reprieve for the actions and lack there of…

  • junkman

    Players are randomly tested 20% of scholarship athletes per program…In basketball its 2 or 3 players who are selected at random before the season after midnight madness, and once during the season…

    The interesting thing is that Marijuana is not on the substance list for NCAA drug tests, unless there is suspicion of use…Meaning the NCAA has to declare in advance that they will be testing for marijuana.

    The other rumor, which can not be confirmed is that Ellis and Bassett failed there NCAA drug test and as a result of that, they were kicked off the team, so that they wouldn't draw any further attention to the program during the NCAA investigation period. ..Now if the NCAA announced a suspicion of marijuana, we could understand that, but if they didn't the drugs that would be tested for and possibly found would have been cocaine, ecstacy and other performance enhancing drugs (not that coc and e are performance enhancing, but the other drugs that would have been tested for would have been perf enhancing)

    That was the decision of Dakich, and one that really set the ball in motion for the way the team quit, transferred, etc…and was the reason why Eli Holman went crazy when Crean wouldn't allow them back on the team after passing a drug test…

  • junkman
  • BGleas

    The problem isn't whether Gordon had friends off the team, the problem is that they weren't a real team on or off the court because there was a clear divide between the drug users and non drug users, at least according to Gordon.

    What responsibility does Dakich hold? You're talking about an interim coach that the players didn't want anyways. This is a guy who took a ton of heat (from me included) for kicking guys off the team. I'm not sure what else he could have done?

  • Justin

    Funny Story on this from a blog in Louisville.

    http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/hoosiers/gor

  • IUJustin

    Funny story about this from a blog out of Louisville.

    http://www.straitpinkie.com/sports/hoosiers/gor

  • junkman

    Dakich was orignially hired as the director of basketball operations, not as a coach…He was hired to manage and oversee the program, and only after Senderoff resigned was he elevated to assistant coach…

    Dakich's job as the director of basketball operations was to monitor and prevent situations like this…

    He kicked the guys off the team, only after the season, when he knew what was going on during the season…

    His original responsibility was to the program, not the players…and he failed to live up to the code of conduct expected of his position.

  • MPmike

    One of the articles states that Adam Ahfeld was not involved with drugs, so your statement is not true. He said that he knew about the team doing drugs.

  • BGleas

    I think you're being pretty unfair to Dakich. How long was he even in the position of Director of BBall Ops? Not long at all before being named assistant coach. Also, several of the offending players last season were new to the program, it takes a while to learn the new players as people, and you don't just kick someone off the team for a first offense.

    Dakich took over the team in almost an impossible situation. If had begun kicking players off the team from the get go he would have been destroyed by the fans, he almost was anyways because of some of the losses.

    It's really to sit here and criticize him when you have no idea what the real situation was.

  • junkman

    It would be even easier for him to address these issues on his radio show…But he won't

    I didn't know you needed time with the players to tell them that excessive drug use would not be tolerated. Sampson knew what was going on and most of the campus did as well…

    If Dan wants to remove himself from this position than he should have acted in the best interest of the program for the duration of his tenure…

    He doesn't get the luxury of being told that he is not going to return as head coach, and then dismiss two players and call his effort of restoring order to the program a full and valiant effort…it wasn't and he shouldn't be excused from the problems that took place and how they were handled while HE WAS IN CHARGE OF SUPERVISING THEM…

    I don't care if you have a substitute teacher in high school, if they catch you cheating on a test, than you should be held accountable…you excusing him because he was the interim coach and the potential backlash that would have taken place had he done what was right is pretty close to condoning the behavior that the team displayed… Something that Dakich's lack of action clearly did…He was an enabler and is only getting a free pass because he is an “IU” guy…

    Its garbage and so was his judgement

  • BGleas

    I guess the difference here is that I live in the real world where there are shades of grey to situations like this. Your fantasy world where decisions like this are simple and easy must be nice.

    I am not a Dakich apologist because he's an “IU guy”. I was one of many that hammered him on this and other blogs because he dismissed two players basically the day before Crean was hired. At the time I felt it should have been Crean's decision, not the decision of a lame-duck coach.

    Now I commend him for his actions and I respect him for not airing the dirty laundry in public. Why does he have to tell you what really happened on his radio show? He doesn't have to do that and I respect him for it. He's taking heat from people like you when he probably could avoid it by speaking publicly, but he has class and isn't throwing people under the bus on public radio.

  • BOis smelly

    I understand everyones frustration but dont disrespect Dakich for taking over a team that was run by players…you cant change a teams mindset in a month specially when they getto hoop stars who only believe in one thing…themselves or their stash

  • hoosierincali

    The drug in question is meth. I know people close to the program and started hearing about this last season.