Nineteen rebounds. That’s how many boards the 6’3” Jordan Goodwin corralled during Sunday’s 69-60 win over the Salukis of Southern Illinois. Nineteen. Those are Andre Drummond, Kevin Love, Moses Malone, David Robinson type totals. Not A-10 guard numbers. But, here we are…the kid from Centreville, IL just did what no guard in memory has done with the S-L-U across his chest.
I’ve been watching Goodwin for three seasons now and I have never seen him stop on his own. The only thing that ever put on brakes on J-Good is the screaming voice of Travis Ford. Goodwin has what guys like Bonner, Dobbs, Jett, and Bess possessed… a motor that idles at 80 mph. I’ve seen him down on himself. I’ve seen him pissed. I’ve seen him have terrible games. But I have never, not once, seen him quit.
Goodwin is far from a perfect player by today’s hoops standards. His jumper is inconsistent, his handles are average, and he struggles from the stripe, but that’s not his story. J-Good has a lot of Gary Payton in him. The kind of guy you would absolutely hate if you weren’t on his team…but if you were…you’ll love him until Kingdom Come. That may not be a perfect player, but that is a perfect teammate.
And that is what we witnessed on Sunday. A guy imposing his will upon a basketball game. He wanted every possession, every rebound, every loose ball. That kind of energy is infectious. The Billikens looked like a D2 team at halftime. Down 29-26 to a team from a lesser conference sporting a 3-4 record. Yeah, we always talk about how tough the Salukis are, but they should have no business sharing a court with a squad that has the talent St. Louis University has. And that is exactly what you saw in the final 20 minutes. SLU outscored Southern Illinois 43-31, owned the glass, altered countless shots, and smothered the Salukis continually running the shot clock to near expiration.
What does this mean? It means that no matter who is in the opposing jersey the Billikens will be led by a guy that does not know how to quit, give in, or give up. And, he is as fortunate as fortune can be to have a running mate in Hasahn French who is cut from the exact same cloth. The cloth that created players like Marcus Smart, Joe Dumars, Bobby Jones, and Patrick Beverly to name just a few.
The Billikens have some true tests coming up. They’ve passed a few, and failed one horribly against Seton Hall. They need to prove versus Tulane, Auburn, and Kansas State, that the Billikens are a true contender. A true force in the nation. A real program and not just another “mid-major” that’s more of a pest and a speed bump than an equal.
Only the next four weeks will tell the STL what this team is truly capable of in 2020. But with Goodwin and French setting the tone… I’d take my chances betting on the Billikens.
Until next time, long live Donnie Dobbs.