Kelvin Sampson, who recently went out the back door of Hotel Deca between two dumpsters to avoid the media at the NCAA hearings, has apparently taken on the role of public relations manager for Eric Gordon. Rather than giving us the explanation we all deserve about his repeated acts of stupidity while in Bloomington, out the back door Kelvin talked to Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman about EJ and his future in the league.
The willingness of Sampson to speak to Mayberry was likely contingent on an agreement that the NCAA mess would not be discussed. (He might not ever talk, but please, pester him until he finally caves.) Anyway, here is Kelvin pronouncing his man love for Gordon:
“I don’t see how this kid could miss. He’s good. He’s really, really, really good, and he has a chance to be great.”
“The thing he can do is score, and his size is not going to be a factor (in the NBA). He is a shade under 6-foot-4, but he weighs right at 215 pounds, maybe a little more. He’s a great athlete. He has great explosion off the dribble and has great range.”
“If you saw him in college this year, he got double-teamed and he was the focus of everybody’s scouting report but still succeeded. He’s the real deal. There’s not any question in my mind about this kid.”
“Eric is going to be a prolific scorer at some point. I think the maturation process for him has a lot to do with how good the team is that drafts him. If he goes to a team that’s building and is probably a couple years away from making the playoffs, that probably can speed his maturation up some, kind of like Kevin Durant.”
“You have to understand that Eric turned 19 last year. So he’s still a kid that’s a freshman in college. He’ll have some growing pains. But the thing he has is unbelievable ability. He’s one of those kids that are going to get better every year, too.”
Update #2: The hearings concluded late on Saturday and The Hoosier Scoop has comments from Rick Greenspan, Jerry Meyer and Rob Senderoff’s attorney. The case is now in the hands of the infractions committee and it could be as long as six weeks before the results are made public.
Update: The hearings will continue into Saturday. No big news from Friday, but reporters from the AP caught up with Sampson and here’s what he had to say about the hearings: “It went well. It’s a process. We’ll be back tomorrow.” That’s some groundbreaking stuff, Kelvin. IU officials had no comment.
Today, Kelvin Sampson has his date in court with the NCAA — the day he’s supposedly been looking forward to in order to set the record straight. So what happens on this Friday the 13th? Does Sampson win the court over and pull out an O.J. Simpson-esque victory? Does the courtroom turn into a scene from A Few Good Men … YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!
And most importantly, how worried are we the NCAA is going to drop the hammer and further sanction the men’s basketball program when a decision is announced a month or so from now? A little worried? Sort of worried? Not really worried because the penalty will be light if there’s any penalty at all?
(Those of you looking for specifics of how everything will go down, Mark Alesia of The Indianapolis Starhas you covered.)
Holler at us in the comments with thoughts and we’ll do our best to get some coverage up as the day unfolds.
Also, for some background on how it’s all come to this, check out our time line with links to coverage after the jump…
Another day has passed and more digging into the NCAA case summary is complete. This time, it’s excerpt from an interview with Kelvin Sampson where he denies ever being on a three-way call where he and Rob Senderoff talked simultaneously.
Here’s what Sampson said on November 13, 2007: “There was never, there was never an instance where I was on the phone with a kid where Rob Senderoff talked.”
However, interviews conducted by Mark Neyland of the NCAA enforcement staff with Yvonne Jackson (mother of Devin Ebanks), Will Buford, DeJuan Blair, Yancey Gates and Demetri McCamey tell a different story.
Transcripts of those conversations after the jump.
The most interesting part of my first glance through the NCAA case summary was Kelvin Sampson’s explanation of his practices for checking caller ID. There are a lot of “uh’s” and contradictions. What’s that you say? You’re not surprised? Me either.
November 13, 2007
Mark Neyland, NCAA assistant director of enforcement Mike Glazier, Sampson’s legal counsel Kelvin Sampson, former head men’s basketball coach
Neyland: And what about in terms of caller ID? Were there numbers popping up on your phone?
Neyland: You could actually see the numbers?
Sampson: Sometimes, sometimes it wouldn’t matter. If it was a number that wasn’t plugged in, uh, as, uh, I would answer the phone not knowing who it was and, like, take my sheet and see if that, uh, corresponded.
Glazier: And make sure you’re clear on, on between cell phone and home phone, too.
Sampson: Yeah, The home phone, the caller ID didn’t show up until after the second or third ring. It only showed incoming call. There was no caller ID on my home phone.
With all of the NCAA allegations/recruiting news going on in Bloomington over the past month, we haven’t had a chance to update you on Eric Gordon and his NBA Draft stock. Gordon is down in Orlando participating in the “combine” portion of the pre-draft camp. Rather than working out, he’s being tested for strength, agility, speed and size.
He’s also going through some interviews and here’s what he told Jeff Rabjohns of The Indianapolis Star about his old buddy Kelvin Sampson:
“We had a real good relationship. After all the stuff I’ve been through in college with Illinois and Indiana and all that and for me to play for him my first year of college, we got pretty close. It’d be neat (to play for him in the NBA), but there’s a lot of other good coaches out there. I don’t want to just be specific on playing for him.”
Let me translate. Since I’m a really nice kid and don’t want to throw Kelvin under the bus, I’m going to say that I enjoyed playing for him, but I’m really looking forward to a fresh start. If I was Gordon, the last thing I’d want during my rookie season is to answer questions about IU and Sampson.
Meanwhile, ESPN draft guru Chad Ford has the latest on Gordon’s wrist and a list of teams that are interested in his services:
Gordon said his wrist is totally healed and he’s back to being a dead-eye behind the arc. The thing that stuck out to me about Gordon was his size. He is so wide for a guard. He looks like a 6-foot-4 power forward. Given his athleticism and quickness, that size will serve him well in the pros. He’s significantly bigger than Mayo or Jerryd Bayless.
Sources say that Gordon will likely fall to either Seattle at No. 4, the Knicks at No. 6 or the Clippers at No. 7. On potential, he could be the third- or fourth-best player in this draft. If his jumper is falling in workouts, his stock will be quickly repaired.
If Gordon shows that his wrist is 100% and has the range he exhibited early in the season, I see no reason why O.J. Mayo or Jerryd Bayless would go ahead of him. Gordon might be the best pure scorer in the draft and his body is more than NBA ready. Let’s just hope he doesn’t go to the disaster also known as the Knicks.
Tom Crean visited the Louisville/Southern Indiana area on Wednesday for a press conference at Louisville Slugger Field and a gathering for the IU Varsity Club at Huber’s in Starlight, Indiana. Here are links to coverage from Crean’s trip along with a couple of other IU related stories:
Kelvin Sampson was introduced by the Milwaukee Bucks yesterday as an assistant coach and as expected, he refused to answer any questions about what went down at IU. He did, however, offer his thoughts on Tom Crean, who also happens to be his close friend:
“Tom will do great. He’s an outstanding person, excellent coach. I think it’s a great fit. Tom would do well anywhere, though. He’s just really good at what he does, he’s very conscientious, will get kids to compete and play.”