Derrick Gordon is a 6-3 freshman SG for St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, NJ and one of the top rated freshmen basketball players in the country. Many high school basketball pundits have touted his freshman class at St. Patrick as the best in the nation (featuring Derrick, 6-6 F Michael Gilchrist (rated as the top freshman in the country by many), 5-9 PG Shaquille Stokes (rated as the top pg in the class of 2011), and 6-7 F Marcus Kennedy). He sheds light on what it’s like playing for the #2 rated team in the nation. You can learn more about Derrick on his profile page on http://www.accessathletes.com.
(1) How long have you been playing basketball? I have been playing basketball for about 10 years now.
(2) What is your AAU team and who were your teammates? Team New Jersey Elite. The players include Tyrone Johnson (he goes to the Plainfield High School with my brother Darryl) and a couple of other people.
(3) Why did you choose St. Patrick instead of Plainfield, where your twin brother, Daryll plays? I chose St. Pats because I believe that going there would allow me to excel in the classroom and Coach Boyle would get me ready for the next level.
(4) Do you and Daryll have a close relationship? Who usually wins when you play 1-on-1? Yes, I have a good relationship with my brother. Sometimes he wins and sometimes I win, but most of the times it’s me. HA HA HA!
(5) Playing for the #2 rated team in the nation and a traditional high school basketball powerhouse, tell us what it is like playing for St. Patrick? It’s a very good experience. I like it! It’s a good school you should go to if you want to get a lot of exposure. It has been great for me. I like it more than anything.
(6) Where do you think you will fit in this ultra-talented freshman rotation? I think I would fit in as the 2-guard, and Shaquille Stokes would play the point guard. So I should fit in perfectly.
(7) How do you think the frosh class this year will help replace last year’s standout Corey Fisher (now at Villanova) and complement the outstanding starting-5 that is returning for St. Patrick? We should have a lot of talent that will replace Corey. But it’s going to be tough because he was one of the best on the team last year.
(8) Last year, St. Patrick (30-2) captured its 2nd consecutive New Jersey State Tournament of Champions Title and 4th overall. What chance do you give St. Patrick to make it a 3-peat? I believe we have a very good chance of doing it again. With our talent and our speed, we should be unstoppable.
(9) St. Patrick came pretty close last year to finishing the year as the nation’s top-rated high school basketball team (closing out the season #2 in the nation according to USA Today). What is the prospect that St. Patrick, rated #3 in the country by USA today, can jump Oak Hill Academy and Duncanville (Texas) in the national rankings to grab the #1 ranking this year? Well this year it’s going to be tough because Brandon Jennings from Oak Hill is still there and they are tough. I heard that Duncanville is pretty good this year, but we should make it to that #1 spot.
(10) The roster for St. Patrick is absolutely stacked: 6-8 PF Quintrell Thomas, who is headed to Kansas; junior 6-3 G Dexter Strickland, who is being recruited by North Carolina, Florida, and others; Junior 6-6 F Paris Bennett; and Jermel Jenkins. It’s very difficult to imagine you guys losing and not going undefeated. Looking at your schedule, which teams pose the biggest threat to an unblemished record? The only team that we have to worry about is Oak Hill.
(11) Many high school experts have you ranked in the top 20 for the class of 2011. Moving forward, how do you not let this get to your head and focus on improving your game? I don’t let it get to my head because that is just a lot of hype going around. All you have to do is bring your game not your name.
(12) What are your goals for this year? For your career? My goal for my freshmen year is to get better and improve my game for the next level. I am going to work hard this year so that I can start in my 10th grade year. For my career, I want to be a McDonald’s All-American and an All-American in college. We will see after that.
(13) Where do you want to play in college? Have you received interest from any schools yet? Is there any chance, you would consider playing for Gary Williams and the Maryland Terrapins (editor’s note: sorry I couldn’t resist as a die-hard Terps fan)? I really haven’t decided on that yet, but I really like Florida, Indiana, and Maryland. I received a lot of interest from Maryland, Florida, Florida State, St. Johns, VCU, Rutgers, West Virginia, Stanford, Auburn, Villanova, Indiana, and Marquette. I would consider playing for Coach Williams. I already have them in my top 5 schools.
(14) Do you have a mentor on the team yet? My mentor is Dexter Strickand.
(15) Have you ever been approached by agents or their runners when playing in the AAU circuit? No, but I have been interviewed a lot.
(16) How important is education for you and if basketball does not work out for you after college, what sort of job can you see yourself having?
Education is really important for me. If I don’t make it to the NBA, then I can see myself being a basketball coach.
(17) Who has had the biggest impact on your basketball career? Who are your role models? Dexter Strickland and Wayne Ellington from UNC.
(18) How do you balance being a major high school athlete with taking care of your business in the classroom? It balances off real good because if you have the grades, and you challenge yourself everyday, the sky is the limit.
(19) What is it like playing for National Coach of the Year, Kevin Boyle? Coach Boyle is a great coach. He is one of the better coaches that I have ever had. He always challenges you in practice so that you can get to the next level.
(20) If you could describe your game in 3 words, what would they be? NEVER GIVE UP.
(21) What is your biggest strength as a player? Weakness?
I have a very good first step with the basketball, I am very strong, and I have a good jumpshot. All that I need to work on is using my left hand.
On behalf of SportsAgentBlog and AccessAthletes, we would like to thank Derrick for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to us.