Derrick Gordon finds his freedom
After a year of isolation, gay UMass basketball player Derrick Gordon discovered the strength to share his truth with family and teammates. He becomes the first active male NCAA Div. 1 basketball player to come out publicly.
Derrick Gordon, the openly gay shooting guard for the UMass basketball team, had a solid weekend in his first two games since coming out last spring. Gordon is now the only publicly out gay man to ever play in a Div. 1 football, baseball, basketball or hockey game.
UMass came from behind to beat Siena on Friday, 95-87, with a 59-point second half that erased their 5-point halftime deficit. On Sunday the Minutemen traveled to Boston College where they upended the Eagles, 71-62.
Gordon scored 32 points over the two games. He shot 4-for-7 from the floor against Boston College after hitting just 3 of 12 in his first game. It's understandable why his shooting percentage might have been off that first game. It was, after all, his first game of the season. The fact that it was also his first game after coming out to his teammates and the world was not lost on Gordon. He embraces the role of role model and trailblazer.
He told me Sunday night that he feels great, that he's never felt so free on the court and so focused on basketball. One key area he says shows that is his free throw percentage. Last season while struggling with being in the closet, he shot 58% from the line. In his first two games he's shooting 82%, a huge improvement.
Gordon also collected 13 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals over the two games. He is currently third on the team in scoring.