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Drew Gordon chases hoop dreams around globe, to LI Nets

On Friday, October 26, 2018 the Long Island Nets hosted their media day ahead of the upcoming G League season. Included in attendance was coach Will Weaver and general manager Trajan Langdon, as well as forwards Ismael Sanogo and Drew Gordon.  Credit: Newsday / Ryan Gerbosi

Drew Gordon hasn’t had a permanent place to call home in quite some time.

After beginning his collegiate career at UCLA, the forward transferred to New Mexico after two seasons. Two years later, Gordon bounced around with NBA franchises, including appearing in nine games with the 76ers during the 2014-15 season. He then spent the next three years playing professional basketball with French, Lithuanian and Russian clubs before signing with the Brooklyn Nets, and now playing with the Long Island Nets, this year.

“I’ve basically been living my life out of four suitcases for the last five, six years,” said Gordon at Long Island Nets media day. “It’s always interesting to emerge yourself into different cultures and having to live there for an extended period of time. You just have to learn to go with the flow with certain types of things and be able to adapt quickly and make changes with your game and everyday lifestyle.”

Gordon, a 6-9, 245-pound forward, adapted, but he’s excited to be back playing in America. With the Long Island Nets opening their season against the Westchester Knicks Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum, Gordon’s taken on a different role as a veteran player compared to his younger peers. At 28, he will be the second oldest player on the roster.  

“We have a lot of really good talent on this team,” Gordon said. “So I’m a little anxious to get this season started because I’m ready for guys to rock out.”

Long Island, the Brooklyn Nets’ G-League affiliate, finished 27-23 last season, and will feature Will Weaver in his first season as the team’s head coach. Weaver has familiarity with Gordon from their time together with the 76ers, and said the forward will not only help the Nets in games, but at practice.

“Dropping that type of legit big into this environment makes it real,” Weaver said. “You have a real screen, you have a real box out you have to make, that is a really valuable piece. Not only for what it does for opponents, but what it does for his teammates during practice.”

Gordon said there were “pros and cons” about playing overseas, but he wanted to return to the United States to be closer to NBA action. He trained in America over summers, but when he went back overseas, he’d be forced to play a different style of basketball.

Gordon hopes to return to the NBA, and believes playing in the G-League will provide himself an opportunity for that. And Weaver believes Gordon can do that, along with help the team win.

“All of us, our careers take different types of twists and turns and put us in crazy places,” Weaver said. “But for him to be back home, I think he’s close enough to make an impact and make people notice.”

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