By ROB HERBST
The Daily News
Derrick Gordon must wait a few years to officially be called a Hilltopper, but he’s already got a nickname suitable for a Western Kentucky basketball star.
Gordon is known as “Mr. Hilltopper” by some acquaintances, and the 6-foot-2 sophomore this weekend announced his intentions to attend WKU. He won’t debut at E.A. Diddle Arena until 2011 – he’s entering his junior season at Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick High School – but “Mr. Hilltopper” knows where he wants to be.
“People would come up to me and say, ‘What’s up, Mr. Hilltopper?’” Gordon explained. “Word got out real quick that I was real interested. I love being called that.”
Gordon, a 6-foot-2, 170-pound shooting guard, is the first WKU recruit to commit to arrive on the Hill later than this fall. WKU coach Ken McDonald cannot comment on recruits until they have signed national letters of intent.
That will take some time for Gordon, but he’s glad to apparently have the recruiting process complete.
“I wanted to get it done now because I have a lot of pressure off my back,” Gordon said. “I don’t have to worry about talking to coaches.”
Gordon said he knew he wanted to be a Hilltopper in January, when he says he received a scholarship offer from WKU. But Gordon wanted to visit the school first before making it official.
His first visit to the campus came this weekend, when he attended the WKU Elite Camp.
“I had never been to the school, but as soon as I came out (to Western Kentucky), I loved it,” Gordon said.
Gordon said he averaged approximately 12 points and four assists a game while starting part of the past season at national powerhouse St. Patrick’s. He is listed as a two-star prospect by the recruiting Web site Scout.com.
While Gordon the first recruit for the 2011 season, WKU’s large incoming class for 2009 influenced his decision.
WKU has already inked six players for the 2009-10 season – forwards Terrence Boyd, Cliff Dixon, William Green, David Laury and Jordan Swing, plus point guard Caden Dickerson.
Gordon spoke with Boyd and Laury about attending WKU.
“As soon as Terrence Boyd and David Laury signed a letter of intent, they called me and said, ‘You should hop on board. It’s a real good program.’
“That was a big help. This program is going to keep rising and rising and I just want to be a part of it.”