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July 19, 2012INDIANAPOLIS - The Eric Gordon All-Stars AAU program built its schedule for this week around Thursday's Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Top-100 Showcase at Ben Davis High School.
Rather than playing out of town as most other high-profile summer programs are during this second portion of the NCAA's July evaluation period, the Gordon teams signed up for the Best of the Midwest in Fishers, with its games not starting 'til Friday so that its players would be free Thursday to be at Ben Davis.
"With our program we've always tried to have good working relationships with the high school programs," said Pat Mullin, who coaches Gordon's 15-and-under team. "We had some options to play in some national tournaments but the IBCA (event) is here locally and we had some options to stay here locally. We know college coaches are going to see us at our next two tournaments and we wanted to reach out and work with the IBCA."
One Gordon player who shined in the high school coaches-run event was Purdue commitment Basil Smotherman, starring at the Top-100 the way he did a year agao.
Smotherman helped his team to wins in all three of its games, rallying from an early double-digit deficit to win Game 3 by 20.
The Lawrence North forward scored in double-figures in all three games, looking good doing it, making jumpers and turnarounds throughout the afternoon and evening and getting out in transition often.
"My shot was going in and my consistency's getting better," Smotherman said. "I was trying to get to the basket like I usually do, rebound and distribute the ball."
The 6-foot-7 Smotherman was particularly aggressive offensively at the clinic.
"Coach (Jack) Keefer and I have sat down and talked about me being assertive and taking on that role this year," Smotherman said of his coach at LN, "to be that leader and get everybody going. I have to start getting used to it, because it's not going to happen overnight."
This was the clinic's second year being held in July after the NCAA's closure of April a few years ago forced the event out of the spring.
With mostly mid- and low-major coaches attending - Indiana's Steve McClain was the lone high-major rep - the assembled players ran through skill work to begin the day, then broke down into teams and played games.
Many of the state's top players were absent, many of them competing at the high-profile Peach Jam in South Carolina.
Basil Smotherman Sr., the former coach at Heritage Christian and one of the IBCA coaches who worked Thursday's event, was pleased his son's AAU program worked the event into its slate.
"The (AAU) coaches recognize the importance of this event," Smotherman Sr. said. "This is something that shouldn't be taken lightly when you're invited to it. Kids can put this on their r?m?nd its great exposure for them to be seen by these coaches and gauge themselves against other players in the state."