Cal basketball needs a good 2017 recruiting class to make up for the departures set to come after the next season. Jabari Bird, Sam Singer and Grant Mullins are all leaving the backcourt, while Ivan Rabb, more likely than not, will take his tremendous talent to the NBA after his sophomore season.
Enter Jordan Goodwin, a 6'4 guard from Belleville, Illinois.
Goodwin is lighting up the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League. Just how well is he doing in this league? Check out this excerpt from a USA Today article about Goodwin's play so far.
The 247Sports.com’s composite listings have him (but not his photo) at No. 90, well below many of the players he’s been outplaying through the first two sessions for the St. Louis Eagles in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League. Through seven games, he’s leading the team averages in scoring (17.6), rebounding (10.3), assists (4.0) and is second on the team in steals (1.4).
"Based on the past couple of weekends, I really can’t put a limit on him," said Tim Holloway, the president and director of the St. Louis Eagles. "It’s his will to win. His tenacity in how he competes and his unselfishness. He reminds me a lot of Paul Pierce, someone who has a little bit of an old style in his game."
That is impressive stuff when playing against some of the best competition around.
Here are his rankings among the scouting services:
ESPN- 4 stars, 23rd ranked guard, 5th ranked player in Illinois
Rivals: 4 stars, 65th ranked player in the nation
Scout: 4 stars, 73rd ranked player in the nation
247Sports: 3 stars, 145th ranked player in the nation
Goodwin plays everywhere for his high school team and his EYBL season, and he is willing to guard all five positions, though that is something he obviously won't be able to do at the next level.
"I think I can play anywhere in college, except maybe the five," Goodwin said. "I’m just trying to show how good I am, how unselfish I am as a team player and a leader. I’m just trying to lead my team to an EYBL championship and basically show them my game."
Holloway laughs at Goodwin’s willingness to guard any player.
"No matter who it is, he’ll say, ‘Coach, let me check him,’ " Holloway said. "In college, he could play the point or (shooting guard). As an organization, we never direct where they should go. We try to advise the player and the family, looking at the way a college plays, the demeanor of a coach and how he uses his players. For a kid like that, I believe no matter where he goes, he’ll fit it. A lot of times in the EYBL, we don’t have a lot of time to scout teams and he figures it out on the fly. He has a high basketball IQ."
The more you read about Goodwin, the more he sounds like a player that fits the Cuonzo Martin profile to a T. He is tough, he works hard and is willing to do anything to help his team win. He lead his high school basketball team to the 3A state championship while helping the football team finish as runners-up in 4A. He has credited his short time playing football with some of his development on the hardwood:
"I think it helps with my aggressiveness, getting to the basket and finishing," Goodwin said. "Playing two sports keeps me active all year, football, the weight room and basketball. I’m in shape, I can run. Playing in football keeps me in shape."
Goodwin's efforts in the EYBL have not gone unnoticed. He's received offers from some great programs within the last few weeks including Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa State, Texas and Texas A&M to go along with programs who offered a while ago like Iowa, Illinois, Purdue and Saint Louis.
According to 247Sports, Goodwin is an athletic guard with a quick release, smooth shot and good ability to finish at the hoop in transition. Another one of his strengths is that he can rebound well for his position.
Something working in the Bears' favor is that he is looking for playing time and does location does not seem to be a concern.
"I want to go someplace where I can play," Goodwin said. "If that means, I have to go away 20 hours, it will be hard on my parents, but it may be the best fit for me."
There will be open spots on the squad after this season and playing time should be available for those willing to work hard and compete, which should not be a problem for Goodwin.