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July 14, 2022 @ 06:15 AM

I'd add a slight clarification here--decommitments do happen all the In the summer of 2006 decommitments in basketball were relatively unheard of. Players didn't flip, and even moreso, there was something of an honor code among coaches that you stopped recruiting players after a verbal commitment. That's partly what made the Gordon saga so unique (and so terrible).

That said, I was thinking about the question on the podcast about what to think of Eric Gordon now, and I have a hard time finding fault with either side. It was truly such a bizarre and unprecedented moment with unique circumstances.

To me, and I remember thinking this at the time, the issue for Illini basketball wasn't really Gordon. Yes, it stung to lose him, and yes, the way it played out meant there was no Plan B. Yet, we should have never been in a position where the success of the program hinged on a single player like that--even if he was a top 5 overall recruit. The real issue was the lack of pieces brought in in the '04, '05, and '06 classes, and then the failure to surround Gordon with talent in '07. All that of as prologue to the Gordon saga was the real issue that led to the downfall of the 07-08 team.

And yet, I appreciated this podcast for reminding me of how quickly Sampson flamed out at Indiana. As painful as the Gordon saga was, and as much as it sucked to lose to him at home, watching Indiana flame out on the Blake Hofarber shot in the BTT quarters, and then lose in the first round, followed by beating them twice the next year and Sampson getting fired, and then Crean having to take over a total dumpster fire was a nice way to close that era of the UI-IU rivalry.

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