(SportsNetwork.com) - UMass guard Derrick Gordon has come out as the first openly gay player in Division I men's college basketball.
"I just didn't want to hide anymore, in any way," Gordon told ESPN in a televised interview. "I didn't want to have to lie or sneak. I've been waiting and watching for the last few months, wondering when a Division I player would come out, and finally I just said, 'Why not me?'"
Gordon came out to his family, coaches and teammates earlier this month. He gained inspiration from Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins, who publicly acknowledged his sexuality in April 2013. Collins became the first openly gay player in NBA history when he took the court against the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 23.
The university has fully supported Gordon's decision.
"I have the most profound respect for Derrick and the decision he has made to come out publicly," UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. "He is a model student, a terrific competitor, but most importantly, he is a wonderful human being. We know his decision weighed heavily on him for some time, but as a coaching staff, a team and a family, we stressed to him that we support him in every way possible. Derrick is a first-class representative of this University and this program since he joined us and we are all very proud of him."
As a starter last season, Gordon averaged 9.4 points and 3.5 rebounds.