Illinois wanted Eric Gordon to feel as uncomfortable as possible when the two teams met in Champaign on Feb. 7, 2008.
Gordon received a chippy chest bump from Illini guard Chester Frazier during pregame introductions. Illinois’ defense harassed the Big Ten’s leading scorer into 3-of-13 shooting. And the fans started booing him the moment he was introduced and continued with every dribble he took during the game.
It was to be expected. Gordon had verbally committed to Illinois in November 2005, only to ink a letter of intent with the Hoosiers less than one year later. Many Illini fans felt jilted.
And it wasn’t just Gordon they harassed during his one and only game at the Illini’s Assembly Hall. Toward the end of a double-OT thriller that Indiana would win, 83–79, Gordon’s parents were part of a group of Hoosiers fans sitting courtside that were pelted with orange-and-blue beads and ice.
The experience was a road bump in an otherwise successful season for Gordon, who was the 2008 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and a First Team All-Conference performer. He is now in his fifth NBA season, averaging 16.9 PPG for the New Orleans Hornets.
Illinois (15–8) will try to halt a three-game losing streak when it hosts the top-ranked Hoosiers on Thursday night. Eric Gordon profile