From the Indianapolis Star:
Eric Gordon plays his first NBA game in his home state Friday, but the rookie still sometimes thinks about the turmoil that wrecked his one season at Indiana University.
Coach Kelvin Sampson was embroiled in a recruiting scandal that led to his ouster, but Gordon said there was another key reason for the rift in the team.
“It was the guys that were doing drugs that were separate,” Gordon told The Indianapolis Star in an exclusive telephone interview earlier 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.
The Hoosiers started 17-1 but lost their first game of the Big Ten Tournament and first game of the NCAA Tournament.
Gordon didn’t say 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.”