(NEW YORK) — University of Massachusetts sophomore guard Derrick Gordon has become the first openly gay player in Division I men’s basketball.
Gordon broke the news Wednesday, but told his parents, coaches, and teammates at the beginning of the month.
“UMass is proud to have Derrick Gordon as a member of our athletic family and to honor his courage and openness as a gay student-athlete,” athletic director John McCutcheon said in a written statement. “UMass is committed to creating a welcoming climate where every student-athlete, coach and staff member can be true to themselves as they pursue their athletic, academic and professional goals.”
Gordon credited Nets backup forward Jason Collins for being the first athlete to come out last year and said he felt comfortable with making the announcement once the Nets signed Collins to a 10-day contract in February.
The 22-year-old decided to tell his team after falling to Tennessee in the first-round of the NCAA tournament on March 21 and had a phone conversation with head coach Derek Kellogg on April 2 about the announcement.
Kellogg lightened up the locker room before Gordon made the announcement by telling the rest of the players that he was gay.
Gordon averaged 9.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists this season after transferring from Western Kentucky last season.
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Jill Martin, CNN
Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Newswire