Derrick Gordon (190-G-1991, college: Seton Hall) is a 30 year old 190cm guard that was born in Plainfield, New Jersey and decided to retire after a 2 year career overseas. He played his rookie season with BC Apollon Limassol (Cyprus-OPAP Basket League) averaging 12.7ppg, 5.4rpg, 3.0apg, Steals-5 (2.0spg), FGP: 44.1%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 56.1% and last season he played with the ROMERSTROM Gladiators Trier (Germany-ProA) averaging 7.1ppg, 1.9rpg, FGP: 40.0%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 76.2%. he played at 3 NCAA schools with Western Kentucky, UMass and Seton Hall playing a total of 133 games and won the Sunbelt tournament and Big East tournament. He is the only player in NCAA history to have played in the NCAA tournament for 3 different teams. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his last season in Germany.
Thanks Derrick for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?
I live in Los Angeles. I actually just retired from professional basketball. I am very happy, overallI had a great career. I am excited for the next chapter of my life.
You played your second pro season in Germany with the Romerstrom Gladiators. It was a very tough season. Does one think more about injury after one has achieved a difficult one like you had?
I am rarely injured so me getting hurt especially being out for 5 months was a tough one to deal with.
What do you believe was the most difficult aspect that professional athletes have to deal with when being injured? Is it more the physical or mental side?
A little bit of both I would say. Especially since I knew how much I could be out there helping my teammates. It was one of the hardest things to go through but I was able to overcome those challenges.
After a strong rookie season in Cyprus, you arrived in Trier and began very well with 3 wins as your play was very good. Everything was rolling for you. What do you believe helped you most in this time that you could adjust so well to the play?
Just confidence in myself, that was one of the main things I was focused on that upcoming season. I was playing really well but most importantly I cared more about winning.
Then came 3 loses in a row. What happened to Trier in that phase? You played Jena and Vechta tough and then had a bad loss against Hagen?
We took some tough losses to teams that we know we could beat. It happens, most importantly we stayed together as a team.
You then hurt your knee in the game against Ehingen. I guess the best news was that you got the win. Your scream of pain was heard in the whole arena. What was going through your mind in those minutes after your injury? You must have had many thoughts running through your mind.
I thought at that time my career was over, I was crying because I knew it was a pretty bad injury. I’m thankful that I didn’t need surgery.
Then came a long 5 month rehab period. What kind of an experience was that for you’? What did you learn about yourself in that time?
It was an interesting experience. That was the longest I ever had to sit out for an injury. But it made me stronger mentally and I was ready to bounce back and get on the court.
Was there a teammate in that time who really stood by you or some person that really was instrumental in helping making your rehab as comfortable as possible?
I was close to all my teammates in Trier, I love those guys and will be life time friends with them. It was a brotherhood.
Trier played well without you and made the playoffs. You came back for the series against Leverkusen but played only 28 minutes total in the 4 games. Were you totally fit again?
I was for sure totally fit again and ready to play. I was shocked cause I knew I should have played a lot more but that was the coach who made that decision.
Was it just coaches decision that you didn’t play more of a role in the Leverkusen series? It must have been tough not getting the minutes like before your injury?
Yes of course its very frustrating especially know what I was able to do on the court before I got hurt. We did have a coaching change during the season and he was a very young coach so he was put in an unexpected position when the coach got let go.
How tough was losing that’ series. Trier won game 1 and then lost the next 3 in close battles with a combined score of only 14 points. What was key for not getting over the hump?
It sucked of course, no one likes losing and I couldn’t believe the season was over right as soon as I got back. Our gameplan could have been a lot better but I’m not the coach I just have to go out there and do my job when I am in the game.
Do you feel like controlling Spencer Reaves better could of made the difference?
He was one of their key playesr, I could have for sure stopped him and most of the points that he scored.
If you had to pick one player that you felt developed the best during the season who would you take?
Garei Zeeb I would say. He has so much potentially, at some point I wouldn’t be surprised if I see him in Euro league
You have announced your retirement after only 2 years. You hinted that there was a specific reason why you decided to hang it up?
Personally it was just time to let it go. I know some people may think it is because of the injury I had and that wasn’t the case at all. When I got back to LA in May I just needed to do some thinking. I was fully happy not playing anymore and didn’t have that drive to want to continue to keep playing. I have two businesses that I am super excited about and I am also working on my own book. I am glad I got to end my career on my terms and not someone else’s.
What is the next step for you? You have written a book. Can you explain a little what awaits readers?
Like I mentioned I will be opening up two businesses of mine in Los Angeles that I am super excited about along with my book. My book will basically be about my life and journey and things that I went through when I was in the closet. I am all about helping people and I want to help that next guy who may be struggling.
You also have announced exciting new projects. What can we await from you in the future?
You will have to stay tune and follow my social media. I didn’t announce them yet
How would you like to have fans to remember the player Derrick Gordon?
That I was a guy who left it all out there every night, I’m a true winner and that is all I care about.
Where do you rank Steph Curry right now in the all-time best point guards in the NBA?
In my opinion it will have to be between Kyrie and Steph
What is your take on the whole Kevin Durant drama? Do you feel all the talk and hate is hurting his legacy?
Haha yes it’s a lot going around the KD situation but I hope it all works out for him wherever he goes.
What was the first eatery you visited when you touched down back in the States?
Fresh Corn Grill restaurant, they make amazing salmon there. I love it.
Thanks Derrick for the chat.