Kansas State sophomore forward Antonio Gordon wasn’t with the team for Saturday’s home game against Iowa State.
After the Wildcats’ 61-56 victory, head coach Bruce Weber said Gordon had dealt with a number of health issues this season. Weber declined to give specifics on the ailments, but said the program missed Gordon and wished him the best.
It’s unlikely, Weber said, that Gordon returns this season.
“For him and his sake, he’s endured a lot since last summer — really since the spring. He came back and had a lot of health issues,” Weber said. “It’s just taken a toll on him. For his sake, we just felt like it was best to shut him down. He’s done for the season. Dealt with a lot of different things. It’s tough to be without him, but we’ve just got to make do with what we’ve got.”
Weber followed that up Monday morning, noting that even if the Wildcats made a miracle run to the Big 12 tournament title to clinch an NCAA bid, a Gordon comeback wouldn’t be in the cards.
“We would just have to see how he does health wise and see how he’s making progress,” Weber said. “It’s a big dream and a big goal (to win the Big 12 tournament). Craziness has happened before.”
Weber also asserted Saturday that Gordon still is a member of the program, and his absence does not signal a permanent departure.
“Right now he’s got health issues, and he can’t help us right now,” Weber said. “We’ll keep helping him, and hopefully he can get through some of this.”
Gordon is the team’s leader in both rebounds per game (5.8.) and offensive rebounds (50). He entered Saturday ranked No. 11 in the Big 12 in rebounds per game, while his offensive rebound total was eighth best in the league. He also averages 5.8 points per outing.
Gordon has played in 21 games this season, with 12 starts. But he’s developed into a key part of the starting five over the past month, as he’s been in the lineup the last seven games he appeared in — he sat out the team’s upset of then-No. 7 Oklahoma on Feb. 23 — and led the way in rebounding five times in that span.
During his seven-game starting stretch, Gordon has improved upon his season averages, going for 7.1 points and 8.4 rebounds a contest.
Last month against No. 23 Oklahoma State, Gordon authored the best performance of his college career, topping K-State in both points (15) and rebounds (14) in a 67-60 loss in Stillwater, Okla. It was Gordon’s first double-double at K-State, and marked the most rebounds in a single game by a Wildcat since Dean Wade in 2018.
Gordon’s best scoring effort came in an otherwise forgettable home defeat to Baylor in December.
He came off the bench and accounted for one-third (23) of K-State’s total point output in the 100-69 loss in Manhattan. His 23 points off the bench was the best showing by a Wildcat reserve since Marcus Foster also had 23 in a game against TCU on Jan. 7, 2015.
An Oklahoma native, Gordon played in 26 games (nine starts) as a freshman last season. He averaged 4.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
Gordon was a three-star prospect in the Wildcats’ 2019 recruiting class.
Starring at Eisenhower High in Lawton, Okla., Gordon helped the Eagles go 53-29 during his career and make three straight trips to the Class 5A state tournament. During his senior campaign, he earned first-team Class 5A all-state honors from both The Oklahoman and the Oklahoma Coaches Association, while he was a two-time all-state selection by the Tulsa World.
He finished his high school career with nearly 1,600 points, averaging 22.8 per game in 70 appearances.