Inside the SEC: Nashville's Gordon plans to stay in draft

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 at 5:07pm
Jamont Gordon says he remains committed to jumping to the NBA. SECSports.com

Nashville native Jamont Gordon appears determined to pursue an NBA career regardless of any obstacles he might encounter.

The Mississippi State guard, who has one season of college eligibility remaining, entered this year’s NBA Draft and says he’s likely remain there even if he’s not projected to be a first-round pick.

“I’m pretty much in,” Gordon told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. “If worst comes to worst and I have to go back, I’ll go back.”

Like most prospects, Gordon has been participating in pre-draft workouts for NBA teams in various cities. However, he has not hired an agent, allowing him to withdraw from the draft by June 16 and return to school for his senior season. The draft is June 26.

Such a scenario is unlikely for the former Glencliff High star.

“I’ll probably stay in,” Gordon said. “That would be all right with me. I know I’ll work hard and get me a (roster) spot.”

Gordon, a bruising 6-foot-4 guard, earned All-Southeastern Conference in 2007-08 after averaging 17.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.

IS THAT SO?: In a feature story on new Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino in the new edition of the Athlon college football preview, Petrino is quoted as saying:

“I’ve always been able to look in the mirror and say I work as hard as I can for the game of football and do everything I think I can possibly do to help young men grow and get better.”

Wonder what the Atlanta Falcons would say about that?

NEEDLESS SPENDING?: Ground will be broken this summer on a new basketball arena at Auburn that will cost an estimated $92.5 million. It is slated to open for the 2010-11 season.

Good for Auburn, but seriously, do people there even know basketball is played on its campus? Average attendance last season at the ghost town otherwise known as Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum was 5,392.

Here’s your challenge for today: Try finding a hard-core Auburn basketball fan. Then try figuring out if a new arena is really needed.

OFF TO OMAHA: Georgia and LSU are still alive and will represent the SEC in the College World Series, which gets started later this week in Omaha, Neb.

LSU blasted Cal Irvine 21-7 Monday night in the final game to be played at venerable Alex Box Stadium, which has hosted its share of winning baseball over the years. More than 8,000 fans were on hand.

TOUGH LOSS: Georgia, the preseason No. 1 football pick by some publications, might be without standout fullback Brannan Southerland for as many as five games to open the 2008 season.

Southerland has been slow to recover from foot surgery after suffering a broken bone near the end of the 2007 season.

His presence has been huge in recent seasons for the Bulldogs, who rely on his punishing blocking while employing an I-formation offense. In addition, Southerland in 2006 scored 10 touchdowns and became the first fullback to lead Georgia in scoring in a season since 1957.

SOUR GRAPES: In case you missed it, departing Mississippi State baseball coach Ron Polk is not pleased that the school hired Kentucky’s John Cohen as his replacement.

Polk had campaigned for Bulldogs assistant coach Tommy Raffo, who, like Cohen, played for Polk at MSU in the 1980s.

Polk had choice words for new athletics director Greg Byrne.

“Now he’s got me on the war path and all I can do is hurt him,’’ Polk said. ‘‘I’m going to do everything I can to make his life miserable.’’

As long as Byrne is employed by Mississippi State, Polk has asked the school to remove his name from the school’s baseball stadium and is taking the school out of his will.

FULL HOUSE: According to the NCAA’s recently compiled attendance figures for the 2007-08 basketball season, Kentucky led the nation in average attendance for the 12th time in the past 13 years with an average of 22,554 per game.

It marks the 20th time in the 32-year history of Rupp Arena that UK has been No. 1. North Carolina [20,497] was second, followed by Syracuse [20,345], Tennessee [20,267] and Louisville [19,481].

Brett Hait covers Vanderbilt and the Southeastern Conference for The City Paper. He can be reached at bhait@nashvillecitypaper.com.

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