Gordon scores 16 in Derby Festival Classic while ‘spreading the red’

Jonathan Lintner

LOUISVILLE — Class of 2011 point guard Derrick Gordon — self-proclaimed Mr. Hilltopper — was all about “spreading the red, like they say,” at Friday’s Derby Festival Basketball Classic.

Gordon and fellow WKU signee George Fant donned gray cut-off warmup shirts with red towel logos before the all-star game, where the two partnered in the White team’s 126-122 loss to the Gold team in front of 10,019 fans at the KFC Yum! Center.

All other players wore black warmups decorated with the all-star game’s logo.

“It’s good to just let people know who you are and where you’re going,” Gordon said.

Although Gordon’s team ended up on the wrong end of a game that was all about offense, the WKU signee couldn’t stop smiling, shaking hands and sharing hugs afterward.

“I just want to cherish every moment when I’m here,” said Gordon on being back in Kentucky.

The St. Patrick High School (N.J.) point guard came off the bench to score 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He added four rebounds, three steals, one assist and a turnover in 19 minutes played.

Gordon is familiar with these types of games now, having also played in the Florida vs. USA Hardwood Classic in March. High school players are allowed to play in two all-star events before heading off to college.

“This is all about coming out here and having fun,” Gordon said.

With 19 minutes of action, Gordon played less than half of Friday’s game, which was made up of four 12-minute quarters.

Warren Central High School coach Tim Riley, who coached the White team on Friday, said lineups were set in advance with the exception of the fourth quarter.

“It’s a great glorified pickup game is what it is,” Riley said. “They’re all stars. They’re all used to being out there on the floor and in the ballgame, so it was kind of frustrating for them. They all wanted to be out there making a difference.”

Fant, a forward at Warren Central, tallied six points in 19 minutes. He noted that Friday marked Gordon’s coming-out party in Kentucky, where people have heard of Gordon but never seen him play.

“I was telling Derrick — I’m selling him here,” Fant said. “People get to see how good he is.”

Gordon will move to Bowling Green on June 5. Between now and then, he plans to work mostly on his conditioning.

Gordon, No. 135 in the 2011 Rivals 150, said he’s thankful for the constant support he’s received from WKU — although most of it from afar — since committing the summer before his junior year of high school. The three-star point guard signed his Letter of Intent to become a Topper in November.

While Head Coach Ken McDonald hosted recruiting visits back in Bowling Green, President Gary Ransdell and Athletics Director Ross Bjork watched Gordon from the Yum! Center’s stands.

“I wish I could have just run up there and give them a hug,” Gordon said. “For them to come out and show support for me and George is just incredible.”