Althoff junior Jordan Goodwin capped off a dominant high school season just as he envisioned at the beginning of the year - holding the 3A first-place trophy in Peoria on Saturday.
Goodwin and the Crusaders (32-2) were too strong, too good and too determined to accept anything less, as they rolled over Lincoln-Way West 62-37 in the championship game. Goodwin led the way with 19 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals in yet another impressive showing.
He talked about what it meant to accomplish his dream.
"It's probably the best feeling I've ever felt in my life," Goodwin said in the midst of the championship celebration. "I'm happy for my seniors. I love them. Sending them off with this 'W' means everything."
Goodwin thought about that moment every day since losing in the title game last March. How did it feel to finally touch that trophy?
"Best feeling in the world," he said. "It's going to feel better when I get my ring, though."
As the ultimate competitor, Goodwin is already thinking about his next goal: Winning the title on the EYBL circuit this summer.
"I'm about to go win the Peach Jam," Goodwin said. "I'm greedy. It's good to be hungry. Can't never be full."
Goodwin was a bulldog with a major appetite this past season. He was named to the Associated Press 3A first-team, as he received more votes than anyone on the ballot. Goodwin was unstoppable during the state tournament run as well - averaging 23.1 points per game.
Last year, Goodwin made a name for himself in Peoria as a breakout performer. He shined even brighter this time around. Goodwin had 25 points and 15 rebounds in the semifinals against St. Joseph, who defeated Althoff in the title game last March.
This time, he wasn't solidifying his place on the radar. Instead, he was cementing himself as the best overall player in the state.
"I think that's just working hard in the offseason," Goodwin said. "And my team is great too."
Before kicking off the AAU season in a few weeks, Goodwin will have some time to focus on his recruitment. He took a visit to Iowa earlier this month, and he plans to get back out on the road for more visits soon.
"I'm going to take a few after the season," Goodwin said. "I'm going to talk to my mom and dad, and see where we want to go."
One of those stops will be at Illinois - a place he has visited numerous times already. Goodwin said last month that he would also like to visit Indiana and Purdue.
The Illini will work hard to further their position with Goodwin, who called Illinois his leader last summer. Illini head coach John Groce sat courtside for both of Goodwin's games in Peoria. Groce gave him a celebratory handshake and hug after winning the title, and he also had some words for Goodwin's ear.
Illini commit and fellow Belleville product Javon Pickett was in attendance as well, and he congratulated Goodwin after the game - along with Illini junior Malcolm Hill. Both of those guys have been in Goodwin's ear recently.
"I talked to Jeremiah not too long ago. I shook Da'Monte's hand over here," Goodwin said. "It's a family thing with us. We're all like brothers."
The Illini would love for that brotherhood to come together in Champaign and make something special in the 2017 class.