SIDNEY — Andre Gordon will soon have went from dribbling a basketball around the streets of Sidney to dribbling in some of college basketball’s most storied arenas.
Gordon signed a national letter on Monday in Sidney High School’s library to play collegiately for Virginia Tech. He’s getting ready to start his senior season at Sidney and could possibly become the school’s all-time leading scorer this year. He’s already the school’s all-time assists and steals leader.
“I’m just excited to be able to play on TV and play nationally and just get better,” Gordon said. “I want to get into the (NBA), and going there, Coach Buzz Williams is going to push me to the fullest and wants me to come play. That’s what I’m willing to do.”
Gordon is a point guard and has scored 1,415 points in three seasons at Sidney while amassing 418 assists and 168 steals. He’s 330 points shy of the school’s all-time career points record, which is held by 1988 alumnus DeWayne McCluskey.
Sidney coach John Willoughby played collegiately at Miami (Ohio) in the early 1980’s and said the time commitment for playing Division I basketball has only grown since then. He said he knows Gordon has the work ethic needed to excel at that level.
“For an athlete of his talent to stay as humble and as coachable as he is is impressive,” Willoughby said. “The best thing I can say about Andre right now is he’s coachable. …It takes hours to play at that level. Even the most gifted players have to put in the hours, and Andre does it.
“We mess around in practice sometimes with shooting drills, and I can still outshoot some of the kids on our team. They’ll ask sometimes, and I always say, ‘six hours.’ I put in six hours a day for three years just doing that. Andre has already put a lot of time in, and he understands that it takes that kind of effort to be at this level. That’s why he’s here.”
Gordon’s recruiting stock rose over the summer while playing with C2K Elite AAU and practicing with Huntington Prep in the fall. He transferred to Huntington Prep over the summer but returned to Sidney earlier this month.
Gordon gave a verbal commitment to Virginia Tech in October after taking a recruiting visit to the school. He chose the Hokies over DePaul, Xavier and Dayton among others.
“A lot of practice and putting in work, no matter where I’m at,” Gordon said of the last several months. “I was there showing them I could play basketball. It doesn’t matter where you’re at, you just have to develop.”
Williams has been at Virginia Tech since 2014 and has quickly turned the program into one of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s best. The Hokies have made the NCAA tournament and won at least 21 games each of the last two seasons.
Williams coached at Marquette from 2008 to 2014 and led the program to three Sweet 16 appearances and one Elite Eight appearance.
“It’s small ball, but everyone’s a hustle player,” Gordon of Williams’ style. “I have a lot of energy on the court, so that’s why he likes me. …Everyone’s just strong and fast, that’s how they play.”
Influential Sidney youth coach Kevin Foy spoke after Gordon’s signing. He told how Gordon had a strong work ethic, even as a grade schooler.
“I would see him walking around town as a third grader dribbling a basketball,” Foy said. “… He worked a long time to get to this point.”
He won’t have to walk around Blacksburg, Virginia doing that when he gets to college next year. When not playing at home, he’ll get the opportunity to play at some of the most storied arenas in collegiate basketball history, including Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium and North Carolina’s Dean Smith Center.
“It’s going to be nice,” Gordon said of playing in the ACC. “Watching those teams ever since I was in fourth grade, it’s crazy. They’re enemies now, so we’ve got to get after it.”
Before he starts taking on the Tar Heels and Blue Devils, Gordon will have one last season with the Yellow Jackets. Sidney finished 18-7 last year and won the Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division title for the second consecutive season.
Aside from defending the divisional title, Gordon said the team is hopeful for a deep tournament run.
“I want to be a state champ, that’s an every year thing,” Gordon said. “But a district champ is what we’re going for. GWOC North champs for sure. Everyone on our team is buying in. Everyone has energy, and it’s going to be fun.”
Sidney will open the season on Nov. 30 at Tippecanoe.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.