Now We Know Why IU Was Recruiting Bud Mackey: His Stash

Posted by rtmsf on December 18th, 2008

(* for those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Mackey, click here for his personal saga….)

The Indianapolis Star reported tonight that former Hoosier standout Eric Gordon spent time living off-campus during last year’s tumultuous season  in large part because of the drug use that was occurring among members of his team.  He declined to name names of the users, but he did say the following:

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.”

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If true, this confirms one of the oft-repeated rumors in Bloomington as to the seedy underbelly that led to the demise of Kelvin Sampson possibly even moreso than his ridiculous phone call scandal.  Certainly if Sampson had knowledge of certain players using drugs and he “tried to stop it” but ultimately turned a blind eye to the matter, then Indiana administrators – no dummies, them – would have caught wind of this problem and looked for any way possible to get rid of him.  This also explains the mass exodus that took place both prior to and upon Tom Crean’s arrival in Bloomington.

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We do have one question for Eric Gordon, though, and this in no way should be taken to suggest that we think HE was involved in any illegal activities.  But, it’s a little hypocritical to throw a bunch of your teammates under the bus for a failed season when your own numbers dropped significantly in the last two months of the season, isn’t it (see above fg%)?  Perhaps he’d argue that his mind wasn’t into it anymore because his teammates were more concerned with snorting blow than beating Izzo, but we think, as the best player on the team, he should have taken some responsibility and looked into the mirror with the rest of the clowns to explain IU’s miserable finish in 2007-08 (8-6 after beginning 17-1) .

Update:  We wanted to address a post by the Indiana blog Cannot Falter, which accuses us of shooting ourselves Plaxico Burress-style by failing to mention that Gordon was suffering through an injury to his non-shooting wrist through the second half of the 2007-08 season.  They’re right in that we should have mentioned it as a contributing factor, and for that omission, we apologize.  They’re wrong in that we still don’t believe that was the sole reason for his precipitous decline in play, ESPECIALLY after Kelvin Sampson was fired (the wrist injury was on Jan. 29; IU’s first game w/o Sampson was on Feb. 23).  Not only did Gordon’s FG% drop to a disastrous 32 percent over his last seven games post-Sampson, but he also committed 4.2 turnovers per game in that span (from 46.6% and 3.4 tos).  Was that all due to his wrist injury?  Or did he quit playing and lose focus along with the rest of his drug-addled teammates in those games after his coach was let go?  You tell us.

rtmsf (3954 Posts)

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4 responses to “Now We Know Why IU Was Recruiting Bud Mackey: His Stash”

  1. Drug Rehab says:

    See, now isn’t it sad that all of these athletes feel the need to use drugs? It makes a lot of people lose faith in the ethics that once governed the sports arena.

  2. Did it ever cross any one’s mind that Gordon, like virtually ever other player on the team, was thrown into a mental tailspin by all the coaching turmoil and didn’t simply “quit playing?” I highly doubt such a focused and goal-oriented kid would quit playing on the eve of his NBA draft, his life’s goal.

    Better still, could it not have had something to do with his teammates not adjusting well to Dakich’s coaching and the system which fed EJ falling apart around him? How about Bassett’s increased offense after Sampson was canned? I also seem to recall EJ getting doubled-up on almost every touch as the season drew to a (disappointing) close.

    Nah, this super-baller’s kryptonite was having stoned players around him. I’m sure that’s what made him “quit.”

    But….why then is he doing so well in the NBA??? Kryptonite-resistent unis in LA?

  3. rtmsf says:

    CH: of course those are distinct possibilities. The numbers are clearly indicative of some external factor associated with Sampson’s departure, whether it was players quitting on the team, losing focus, Dakich’s coaching, or whatever. It wasn’t his wrist that explains those last seven games of production though.

    Still, we question his decision to throw the rest of the team under the bus when he wasn’t exactly carrying the IU flag into battle with his dropoff right there with the rest of them.

  4. LTTelamon says:

    Another possible theory is that Gordon was forcing offense to make up for what his other teammates lacked – a freshman trying to do too much, trying to carry a team that lacked the pieces to be a true contender. Possible also would be fatigue – Gordon played a lot of minutes that season and surely must have been feeling the wear as the year went on. Furthermore, the kid was still scoring 20+ points in many of the decreased % games you mention . Asking much more than that would be a pretty heavy burden to carry. Maybe, as you say, Gordon deserves some small share of blame for the team’s early exit from the tournament and poor late season play, but such blame pales in comparison to what should deservedly be distributed to other players and Kelvin Sampson.

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