Goodman Eager to Show His Growth

The path that leads from junior college to a Division-I school usually starts with humble beginnings. It often occurs because the basketball player lacked the grades or quality offers from Division-I programs exiting high school. For Indian Hills Community College transfer Savon Goodman that is not the case.

Coming out of high school Goodman possessed offers from UNLV as well as Villanova. One would think Goodman, a native of Philadelphia, Pa., would jump at the opportunity to play for such a tradition rich program so close to home. However, the transfer forward said the proximity to home was one of the drawbacks to Villanova’s offer.

“I just felt like my family situation at the time, I just didn’t want to be home. I didn’t want any of those home distractions to come haunt me,” Goodman said. “So I just thought being out on the west coast and being in a more fast paced offense would help my situation.”

Therefore Goodman signed with UNLV where he averaged 3.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per game his freshman year.

The following August of 2013 Goodman was dismissed from UNLV by head coach Dave Rice after he was facing legal charges of burglary and grand larceny following a previous arrest from that May.

Goodman ultimately pled guilty to petty theft and trespass charges.

This is what led the young man who had attractive offers exiting high school to Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa.

“I knew going into JUCO I didn’t have bad grades leaving UNLV, I had a 3.5. So I knew my grades were good enough for me, and I knew I was a smart enough kid. For me if I went there and did what I was supposed to do I could graduate in one year,” Goodman reflected.

“So personally that was my point all along to go out here and just sit out that year since I didn’t want to be at UNLV and just sit out five months and toughen it out. And I knew going to school doubling up on my classes would give me the opportunity to graduate early.”

The 6-foot-6 forward said that practicing, traveling and doing everything else with the team other than playing games helped him reevaluate his previous decisions.

“I did a lot of learning a lot of thinking on the mistakes I had made in the past. But it definitely was a learning tool for me,” Goodman said. “[I] sat down for five months and thought about some things, thought about how I could live my life more right and I paid the consequence for my actions, but now it’s a new start and I’m on to bigger and better things.”

The transfer forward with three years of remaining eligibility said that the entire unintended journey from Nevada to Iowa and now to Arizona taught him a great deal.

“I learned to not have my family looking stupid anymore. When I do something it doesn’t just affect me,” Goodman said. “I just can’t bear with the fact calling my mom and hearing her cry because I’m leaving college again. That’s just one incentive of why I’m going to stay out of trouble and do the right thing and stay on this path of righteousness.”

Goodman is grateful to have this second chance at big time college basketball. He said during the recruiting process he told Coach Sendek exactly what happened at UNLV and the ASU head coach forgave the young man and they moved on from that point.

The transfer forward echoes the statements of many other players that have transferred into the Sun Devils’ basketball program in the sense that there is a genuine family atmosphere amongst players and coaches alike.

The family-like feel of the team was heightened when a man Goodman describes as a father figure was hired by ASU. That would be Barret Peery, former head coach of Indian Hills Community College and current assistant coach on the Arizona State staff.

“I thank him every day for letting me come to his JUCO and staying in school, not playing and helping his team get better,” Goodman said of Coach Peery. “We don’t just talk about ball, I know his whole family, and I know all his kids. I have a good relationship with his kids, his wife, his family back in Ottumwa. I have a good relationship with the whole staff at Indian Hills.”

The native of Philly said that the ASU staff began talking to him before they hired Peery and that their interest was first spiked while they attended an Indian Hills practice. At the time Indian Hills player Roosevelt Scott, another new Sun Devils transfer, had already committed to ASU.

Goodman explained that he was not yet favoring ASU but he was leaning toward transferring to Tempe, Ariz. and after Peery landed the job he felt much more comfortable with his decision.

The 6-foot-6 forward is not eligible to play until mid-December because of transfer eligibility rules, but he is still thinking about how he can contribute to his squad.

The athletically built young man said he thinks he can be ASU’s lock down defender.

“That’s just something to look for. Why not? Nobody wants to play defense,” Goodman replied to why he enjoys defending. “We’re an undersized team this year and that’s evident.”

“We have to be able to play lockdown defense,” Goodman continued.

“We have to have players that are going to step up and play lock down defense one through a four. I think we’re going to be quick and we’re going to be special because most of our guys are JUCO guys so we can switch the one through four in any instances really.”

Take a minute and look up Goodman’s name on YouTube. Numerous videos of the young man dunking will be found. This stands for one to wonder if he has interacted with any of his new teammates in that type of manner yet in the infant stage of practices.

“Yes, I’ve caught a couple bodies. I’m not going to say their names to bear witness to them,” Goodman stated without any change in emotion. “But it’s a lot of getting dunked on that goes on around here especially when you got four kids from JUCO that come here with high motors and high octane players that play fast and play hard and are very athletic.

“You’re going to get a lot of that.”

Even after politely and somewhat reluctantly throwing shade at those he has dunked on, the former Division-I and Community College player redirected his thoughts back to the uniqueness of his junior college peers.

“All the players that come from JUCO I think we’re special because we all have motors that’s one thing that you can’t teach,” he said. “You come in and try to teach a kid to play hard but that’s just one of the things [that] comes with the territory. Where you grew up, where you from, how you were raised.

“What bad and tough times you had to go through, through life and I just think it makes the person you are today, so all the JUCO guys including myself we just come in with a chip on our shoulder and we’re trying to prove to the world that we was been supposed to be here.”

He has played Division-I college basketball before. He has even played Division-I college basketball in the desert before. And although he has been a heavily recruited D-I player, one gets the sense that Goodman considers that a past life with his adoption of the junior college player’s mentality.

Goodman may have never played a game as a Community College athlete but when he is finally eligible to suit up for Arizona State in mid-December his shoulder will likely still display the chip he acquired from his junior college days.

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