Gordon vs. Crawford; Sampson drawing NBA head-coaching interest
Two things of interest on this Thursday afternoon involving former members of the IU basketball fam.
First up, via Gery Woelfe of the Journal Times, comes word that Jordan Crawford reportedly used to give Eric Gordon a run for his money in practice:
Many NBA scouts weren’t caught off guard by Crawford’s highly-productive season. They were well aware of his myriad of talents when he was a freshman at Indiana University.
That’s when he had some memorable practices against then Hoosiers guard Eric Gordon, who wound up being the seventh overall selection in the 2008 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Clippers.
Some people who witnessed those Indiana workouts swear Crawford was often as good or better than Gordon.
“I heard that from time to time from players on the team, saying stuff like that,’’ Crawford said. “I really wanted to compete against him.
“He was the best player on the team, so every day in practice I wanted to go at him.’’
Considering the Undisciplined One was rather boom and bust that season — flashes of brilliance mixed with some typical freshman mistakes — it’s not out of the realm of possibility that on his best days he could have matched Gordon here and there.
Second, via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, looks like Kelvin Sampson is getting at least a look from the Cavs in their coaching search:
As the Cleveland Cavaliers sift potential coaching candidates, general manager Danny Ferry has made calls checking on Milwaukee Bucks assistant Kelvin Sampson, sources tell Yahoo! Sports.
For now, the Cavaliers’ interest appears to be strictly in the fact-finding phase, but some league personnel believe it’s just a matter of time until Sampson becomes a legitimate head coaching candidate in the NBA.
This comes on the heels of a report from K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune that Sampson could draw interest from the Bulls in their search. Sampson worked a lot with rookie Brandon Jennings this year as a member of the Bucks’ staff, and though Jennings’ shot still needs plenty of work, he garnered some rookie-of-the-year consideration. Dude also tossed up 55 points in a game during the first half of the season, and was the team’s leader at the point for a team that made the playoffs and nearly upset the Hawks in the first round.
Tyreke Evans and Stephen Curry are talented, no doubt, but they weren’t getting the type of experience Jennings was this year at the point. They may not have gotten the coaching Jennings got either.
You can criticize Sampson for other things, but his coaching prowess — after only two years in the pro ranks — is already garnering him some consideration for head-coaching jobs. That’s impressive stuff any way you slice it.
Oh, and just before I was set to hit publish, here’s a tweet that just came through from the well-connected Brain Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Sources confirm Yahoo! report about Cavs’ interest in Bucks asst. coach Kelvin Sampson. In fact, I’m told he may be near top of list.”
And then this tweet from Woj: “The Clippers are also showing an interest in Bucks assistant Kelvin Sampson, sources tell Y! Sampson has relationship with Blake Griffin.”
OK, that’s it. Discuss at your leisure.