UMass guard Derrick Gordon hopes his decision to become the first openly gay player in Division I mens basketball will inspire others. Eric Haase Jersey . "There are a lot of kids out there in my situation, probably far worse situations," he said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. "Maybe I can give a lot of kids that confidence that they need to get over that hump." Earlier Wednesday, Gordon made the announcement in interviews with ESPN and Outsports. He said he gained confidence by seeing an NBA team sign Jason Collins, who became the leagues first openly gay player when he joined the Brooklyn Nets this season. "Right now Im happy. Im free just to live my life," Gordon told the AP. The sophomore was the Minutemens fourth-leading scorer with 9.4 points per game last season. UMass reached the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998 and lost in its first game to Tennessee. He sat out the previous season after transferring from Western Kentucky to be closer to his family in New Jersey, where he played at high school powerhouse St. Patrick. Gordon said he told his parents he was gay March 30, informed UMass coach Derek Kellogg the next day and told his teammates two days later, which was last Wednesday. He said some of them probably have known since last summer. "They could sense it because I kind of separated myself from the team," Gordon said. "I didnt really hang out with them as far as going to parties and stuff. I really kind of kept to myself, kept quiet. We went on road trips -- Id sit by myself and they were always wondering why. I did it because I didnt want to put myself in a situation where maybe something happens and they end up finding out. Then what? Im not going to know how to handle the situation." He said he appreciated the support hes received from his teammates since making his announcement. "Theyre ready to get back in the gym just as much as I am," Gordon said. "I cant wait to get back with them and get ready for this upcoming season." In the Outsports interview, Gordon said he considered quitting basketball last fall and isolated himself from teammates because of teasing. Over the summer, he had "liked" a photo on Instagram of him and his then-boyfriend in front of a gay bar. Gordon said Wednesday that he had talked several times with Collins, who made a trailblazing announcement last April when he came out in an interview with Sports Illustrated. In February, he became the first openly gay male athlete in the four major North American pro sports leagues. Collins tweeted that he was "so proud" of Gordon: "Another brave young man who is going to make it easier for so many others to live an authentic life." Michael Sam, an All-American defensive end at Missouri, came out in interviews with ESPN, The New York Times and Outsports in February after his college career ended. He is projected as a middle-round prospect in next months NFL draft. Sam tweeted congratulations to Gordon after the announcement: "You have so many in your corner and were all proud and rooting for you." Kellogg and UMass director of athletics John McCutcheon offered their support in statements from the school. The coach said that "I have the most profound respect for Derrick and the decision he has made to come out publicly." He called Gordon "a model student, a terrific competitor, but most importantly, he is a wonderful human being." Mike Hargrove Indians Jersey . MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez also will attend the session, which was announced Monday. The league has discussed placing its next two expansion teams in Miami and Atlanta. George Hendrick Jersey . -- Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson couldnt hear himself amid the roar in Koch Arena, so he kept stomping on the floor in a fruitless attempt to get his teams attention.The New York Islanders made a surprise move, re-uniting a pair of linemates with big free agent contracts. Numbers Game looks into the Islanders getting Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin. The Islanders Get: C Mikhail Grabovski and LW Nikolai Kulemin. Grabovski, 30, has been a productive centre, scoring 160 points in 261 games over the past four seasons, which ranks 98th among NHL forwards. While that alone is a decent indication of Grabovskis ability to contribute as a second-line centre, hes put up terrific relative possession numbers in four of the last five seasons, the only exception being in 2012-2013 with the Toronto Maple Leafs, when he was effectively buried in a defensive role. That led to his being bought out by the Maple Leafs in one of the more ridiculous decisions in the history of NHL contract buyouts. One year after he was bought out by the Maple Leafs and could only drum up enough interest to secure a one-year, $3-million deal as a free agent, Grabovski signed for four years and $20-million with the Isles. Going to the Islanders should offer Grabovski an opportunity to get favourable matchups, with zone starts tilted towards the offensive zone and softer opposition while opponents send their best at John Tavares line and the Islanders put Frans Nielsens line out for the toughest defensive assignments. Grabovski has scored 20 or more goals three times and topped 50 points twice. His career points per game of 0.59 works out to 48 points over an 82-game schedule, so maybe something around a 50-point season is the best-case scenario, but if Grabovski can put up between 40 and 50 points with typically strong possession stats over the course of his contract, he will be a solid addition for the Islanders. Grabovskis departure from Washington leaves a hole at second-line centre, one that still needs to be filled, unless Marcus Johansson or Evgeny Kuznetsov fit into that spot. Kulemin is a 27-year-old winger who scored 30 goals and 57 points riding shotgun with Grabovski for the Maple Leafs in 2010-2011, but has failed to generate much offence siince, scoring 23 goals and 71 points in 188 games. Oscar Gamble Indians Jersey . But, to be fair, Kulemin has been stuck in a defensive role for the past couple seasons, with primarily defensive zone starts against quality opposition. While Kulemin hasnt scored a bunch in the NHL, particularly recently, hes produced enough to believe that there is more offence to be uncovered. He has 11 points in 20 games for Russia at the past two World Championships and 38 points in 36 KHL games while playing alongside Evgeni Malkin, so its not like Kulemin cant find his way around the offensive zone, but he likely needs a centre that will be the creator offensively. With the expectation that Kulemin will skate with Grabovski, he too should benefit from more offensive zone starts and favourable matchups. Maybe that results in Kulemin scoring 35-to-40 points (that 57-point season in 2010-2011 sure appears to be an aberration) and if that comes with solid two-way play then, even at his lofty price, Kulemin can be a worthy acquisition for the Isles. Toronto didnt seem to be in position to pay Kulemin, and they shouldnt have, based on how he was being used. Wingers that are deployed like Kulemin dont tend to get paid. Kulemins contract also runs for four years, paying him $16.75-million, which is a lot given his recent production, but if he gets more of an offensive opportunity, Kulemin has a decent shot at producing enough offensively to justify that price, which is fair for a second-line winger. All in all, this is an aggressive move by the Islanders and suddenly gives them terrific depth up front. So much that they likely need to find room on the wing for young guns like Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome, but its an enviable problem to have so much talent that some of your centres need to find room to play on the wing. Their defence can still get better, but these signings put the Islanders into the mix among playoff contenders for next season. Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. ' ' '