On Thursday, Pittsburgh native DJ Gordon entered the Transfer Portal after playing one year at Penn State.
“A big reason was Coach Chambers getting fired,” Gordon told Pittsburgh Sports Now when asked why he entered the portal. “He was a big reason for me committing, him and his staff did a really good job of staying in touch, they were real caring guys. It’s all about building relationships. When Coach Chambers got fired, I feel like our program took a big toll going down hill. With the new staff, I met with them a couple times, but I just don’t think this will be the best program for me.”
Gordon is a 6-foot-5, 175-pound guard who averaged 22 points and eight rebounds per game in his senior season for First Love Christian Academy. This year for Penn State, he played a minimal role, appearing in just six games and scoring in just one.
“I improved on my ability to create space, to create my shot off the dribble,” he said about his freshman year. “I feel like I really worked on that a lot this year and it is something that helped elevate my game. Before, I was being told that I was just an athletic wing who could catch and shoot and defend, well, now, I want to be able to make stuff happen with the ball in my hands instead of just trying to do stuff without the ball.”
In high school, Gordon held offers from a long list of high-major schools including Pitt, Arizona State, Cincinnati, DePaul, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, South Florida, Providence, Rutgers, St. John’s, TCU, Virginia Tech and Wichita State.
“In a new school, I am looking for a school that is willing to give me a chance to play my game, my style of play, let me bring my energy to the team,” Gordon added. “Also, I want to get into a winning program. I want to win. This year, we didn’t win. When I was being recruited by Penn State, they were winning. I just want to win. Winning gets you more exposure, not just for me, but for the other guys around me too.”
Gordon was born in Pittsburgh and played his high school ball for nearby First Love, so he is definitely familiar with the basketball scene in Pittsburgh. However, at the moment, he does not necessarily see himself coming back to play in the area just yet.
“At the time, I don’t see me playing in the city or around Pittsburgh right now,” he said. “Things can change throughout this recruitment, but right now, I just don’t see that.”
During his initial recruitment, Gordon had narrowed down his options to six, a list that included Pitt, VCU, Minnesota, Iowa, Penn State and Providence. While the Panthers were his hometown program, he did not necessarily see his future self playing in the Petersen Events Center.
“Pitt has great coaches,” he said. “We had a great connection, great bond. But I just didn’t feel like they really wanted me more. I didn’t think they really felt like they wanted me. I don’t know if they thought that since I just lived in their backyard that I was just going to commit. But Pitt was cool. They wanted me to come in and play, but a lot of people say that same thing. I didn’t believe in Pitt too much for me.”
Since entering the portal earlier in the day, Gordon has already heard from Georgia, Monmouth, Robert Morris, and Western Kentucky. He said that RMU Head Coach Andy Toole was the one who gave him a call shortly after he entered the portal.
“He was asking me questions, getting to know me, and trying to build that trust factor with me,” he said about Toole. “It was a great conversation though, it was a great conversation.”
Gordon also included that he plans on deciding on his new home in the next week or two.