INDIANAPOLIS -- Eric Gordon does not play nice with his little brother. Let's get that out of the way. There is too much pride, you see. Too much rivalry and intensity.
Eron Gordon might one day be an Indiana Mr. Basketball, as Eric was. He might be an All-America, as Eric was at Indiana University. He might play in the NBA, as Eric does, for New Orleans.
For now, when Eric is in town and the brothers decide a little 1-on-1 action is needed, it's war.
Take, for instance, Thursday afternoon.
How did it go?
“Ahhh, well, not very good,” Eron said with a smile.
Eric, you see, doesn't let up.
“No. Never," Eron said. "He beats me 10-0 most games. Maybe 10-1.”
Do not underestimate Eron's potential. He averaged more than 19 points a game as a freshman at powerhouse Indianapolis North Central last season. He is 6-2 and 170 pounds, and playing up two years for the Eric Gordon All-Stars 2014 travel team. Some recruiting publications list him as a top-20 player nationally in his 2016 class, No. 6 at shooting guard.
But he is no match for his older brother, who is 6-3 and 215 pounds. Eric averaged 17.0 points for New Orleans this season. He's averaged 18.0 points for his four-year NBA career.
“I'm pretty athletic for my age,” Eron says, “but the NBA is much different with strength and speed, mainly strength. It's tough to get your shot off. It's hard to play against a player like that.”
On Friday night at North Central, Eron didn't play anyone close to his brother's ability. He scored 25 points as the Eric Gordon All-Stars cruised to a 101-31 win over Best Choice in an opening round game of the adidas Spring Classic.
Eric was watching, by the way.
“He's one of the youngest guys on the team and he always plays hard and he's always trying to learn,” Eric Gordon All-Stars coach Matthew Green said. “These older guys do a great job of helping him with that. He always brings a toughness. He's a guy who gets to the basket and gets fouled or scores, more times than not, it's both.
“He has what his older brother has -- the ability to do some things. The one thing he needs to work on is his outside shot. Other than that, to be as young as he is, he's pretty talented.”
Eron said he likes playing against older players because, “It gets me more prepared for college.”
Green isn't worried that Eron will get over-matched when the Eric Gordon All-Stars face elite competition, if not this weekend at the adidas event, then certainly in future ones.
“He's always played up at least one year,” Green said. “Seeing what he did at the varsity level at North Central, leading team at almost 20 a game, he's OK at playing up. Where it might show itself is when we play some of those high-level teams, and he's playing against a top-20 kid (from the Class of 2014). Then you might see him struggle. Other than that, we're not worried about that much. I think he's up for the challenge.”
Eron could have committed to a college a year ago. Indiana and Purdue offered him scholarships well before he entered high school, but his parents weren't about to let that happen.
“Mainly, I don't know where I want to go now, and I didn't back then,” Eron said. “My parents wanted me to learn more about college, and see what I like. From there we can decide.
“My parents didn't think committing in the eighth grade was right. I didn't know what high school I was going to, so it was hard to worry about what college I would go to.”
Any college worries Eron has at the moment consists of cutting down his list to a reasonable number. It includes Purdue, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Arizona State, Ohio State, Louisville, Baylor, Auburn, Xavier and Cincinnati.
As for what he's looking for in a school, Eron says “A school with a good basketball program; one where I can build close relationships.”
Purdue and Indiana have built-in recruiting advantages beyond their proximity to his Indianapolis home. North Central has a pair of players at Purdue with guards Terone and Ronnie Johnson, who are very close to the Gordon family. North Central football/basketball standout Darius Latham is set to go to IU starting this summer.
And, of course, Eric was an All-America in his one year with the Hoosiers.
“It's nice to know people so you can talk to them about their experience,” Eron said.
Eron's 1-on-1 battles with his older brother reinforce the areas he needs to work on. He takes as much as a thousand shots a day to improve his outside shooting. He works on developing his point guard skills.
“I want to play more positions. I want to learn to play the point, play more inside, be more than just a scorer and defender.”
And if he does, he just might beat his brother one day.