WKU moving on after Gordon’s early departure

Cole Claybourn

Change is nothing new to WKU athletics.

Hirings, firings and departures have all become frequent happenings over the past few years.

Now WKU basketball is in the process of moving on after its latest departure — leading scorer and rebounder freshman guard Derrick Gordon.

The first step? Finding someone to fill Gordon’s void — one that accounted for 11.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.

“They definitely wanted a point guard. They definitely wanted a post player … Will they go after a 2 (guard)? Probably so,” said Evan Daniels, national recruiting analyst for Fox Sports/Scout.com. “I think they’re definitely going to need some help on the perimeter now that Derrick’s gone.”

The spring signing period runs from Wednesday to May 16, and Daniels said while there are still good players available, the pool to choose from is obviously smaller after the fall signing period comes and goes.

WKU had luck in the spring period last year, though, signing guards Kevin Kaspar and T.J. Price.

With Gordon’s departure, WKU now has two open scholarships to use.

By all accounts, Harper and his staff have been aggressively pursuing point guards. Jacobby Bledsoe from Indianapolis, Darrell Combs from South Holland, Ill., and Trivante Bloodman from Olney Central Community College in Olney, Ill., have all reportedly garnered interest from WKU.

Harper can’t comment on specific recruits until they’ve signed with WKU, but he said Thursday that he feels good about where his staff stands in terms of recruiting.

“The one thing you try not to do is get caught by surprise, and we’re not going to get caught by surprise,” he said. “I feel good about the guys we’re recruiting. I said at the end of the season, this is a basketball program that I think is going to continue to grow, and that doesn’t change in any way today.”

Another reason Harper isn’t too worried about Gordon’s absence is because he knows what he has coming back.

Junior guard Caden Dickerson, sophomore forward Stephon Drane and Kaspar will all return from injuries next season.

That’s on top of the rest of the team — aside from senior guard Kahlil McDonald — which will also be back.

“We got a great player in Caden Dickerson sitting out who had started for two years and the first two games of last year. I think T.J. Price is terrific. I think he has got a bright, bright future in college basketball,” Harper said. “The one that kind of is forgotten is Nigel Snipes — I think he has the potential, and I’ve said this from day one, to be the most gifted freshman of all of them.

“Late in the year, there’s no secret we played through George Fant. He was the MVP of the conference tournament, and I think he has a bright, bright future, just like this basketball program.”

The possibility still remains for other players to follow Gordon in transferring from the program.

But that’s not something that worries Harper.

“Don’t make this into something bigger than it is,” he said. “It’s another kid that’s transferring, and he’s got a legitimate reason why he would want to leave. Ninety-nine percent of the time it’s playing time.

“I’ve done this for a long time. Guys that aren’t playing or this and that — that’s why they leave. Don’t make this into something it’s not.”