April 23, 2009
Former Indiana men's basketball All-American Eric Gordon is in Bloomington this weekend for the Little 500 and was cornered by IUHoosiers.com in Assembly Hall for a brief conversation. The North Central graduate was third among rookies in scoring with a 16.1 average and finished fifth in the NBA Rookie of the Year voting.
Interview with Eric Gordon
On whether his first year in NBA met or exceeded his expectations:
"I think I exceeded my expectations really well. I had a lot of ups and downs throughout my first year but it ended up pretty good."
On the positives from his first year:
"Earlier in the season when I was sitting the bench, I realized that I needed to work harder throughout the season. I had to focus on working hard and being consistent night in and night out."
On starting the season on the bench and what led to being moved into starting lineup:
"We had a big trade early in the year, and I was a little frustrated during that time leading up to the trade. But as soon as I moved into the starting lineup, I blossomed after that. In my first two starts, I scored 25 and 24 points and just kept getting better from there."
On participating in All-Star Weekend:
"That was definitely something new that I had never been a part of. That was my first NBA All-Star weekend and it was good to participate in it and hopefully I be able to participate in it again as my career moves forward."
On the one moment that stands out from his first season:
"Well definitely those first two games that I started. And the game against Oklahoma City when I scored 41 points (a Clippers rookie record for points in a game) was also a highlight this season."
On what he is doing now that the season is over:
On whether he will stop by IU over the summer when he gets a chance:
"I'm just relaxing. I have an AAU team and I'm going to watch them play and just workout and try to get myself better and better each season. I'm also going to come down here to Bloomington to watch some of the guys play because I'm still a young guy like they are."
"Oh yeah, most definitely. I'm going to try to be more vocal and help other people as much as I can. In the NBA, a lot of players give back to their communities and so it can not only help those people but it can help me as a person as well."
On the relationship he has established with coach Tom Crean:
"I followed the program this year and Coach Crean. I think he did a good job, and we even communicated from time to time. He is a very busy guy and is trying to incorporate the former players a lot so its good to see him do that to help everybody understand what it means to play at Indiana."
On his goals with his AAU team:
"I have a foundation that is designed to help other people and I like to help the little kids. What I used to enjoy was playing high school basketball, so to have two AAU teams and follow them and have them backup my foundation is something I'm really looking forward to."
On the biggest difference between Eric Gordon two years ago and Eric Gordon today:
"Now I live a different lifestyle and I have to be more mature and stay level-headed and be the same as I've always been."
On the support from his family as he moved on to the NBA:
"They have always been there for me and kept me grounded. And they always tell me too keep looking forward to the next thing so that's what I'm going to do and that' what keeps me going."
On whether people in Los Angeles recognize him when he goes out and how that experience has been:
"It is different atmosphere because it's not as much of a "sporty" town but people know you. But it's good to be around so many celebrities, they have so many out there, and they keep up with you and it's always good to be a part of that."
On what he does in his free time out there:
"I hang out with a lot of friends out there and go to the mall in Santa Monica, that is always a nice place. Or you can go to Beverly Hills or Hollywood, there are just so many places to go out there. I just go to one of those places and relax or go and relax on the beach."
On playing against D.J. White in the regular season finale:
"It was good to see him finally get to play some games to see what he can do before he starts his second season. He has been through so much (with his jaw surgery) that it was good to see him get out there and play."