Over the next two weeks, lead basketball reporter Derek Piper is breaking down 10 of Illinois basketball's top recruits with their updated scouting report, what they have to prove this spring on the AAU circuit and where the Illini stand with them.
Today: Jordan Goodwin, wing Belleville (Ill.) Althoff
Belleville Althoff wing Jordan Goodwin has his stock soaring high after winning the 3A state title earlier this month.
Goodwin averaged 23.1 points per game during the Crusaders' tourney run, and he saved his best for last on the big stage in Peoria. In the semis against St. Joseph, Goodwin posted 25 points and 15 rebounds in a dominant showing. He followed that up with 19 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals in the final against Lincoln-Way West.
After hoisting the trophy, the conversation was over - if it wasn't already before. Goodwin is undoubtedly the best overall player in the state of Illinois.
As a 6-foot-3, 215-pound wrecking ball, Goodwin doesn't fit into one of your typical position categories. He has the height of a shooting guard, but the strength of a power forward. You could say he's of the same mold as Rayvonte Rice or Roosevelt Jones - just better. He isn't exceptionally quick and he doesn't jump out of the gym. But the list of things that he can do is far longer and more impressive. Goodwin can get to the basket and finish as strong as anyone. He doesn't need much space for a driving lane either. Goodwin also makes a huge impact on the glass and defensively by using his frame and playing with a crazy motor.
He has a nose for the ball, a liking for contact and an unsatisfied hunger for winning. Goodwin is a bulldog. He knows what he wants and he gets it. Goodwin needs to continue improving his outside jumper, but he has made significant strides there since last summer. He shot around 33 percent from deep this past season. His free throw shooting needs a lot of work, though. Still, he has the ability to be one heck of a four-year player at the next level.
What he has to prove this spring
Goodwin's biggest focus this spring will be his shooting stroke. He has plenty of suitors that don't need any more convincing. But that is the difference-maker for him in terms of his development, and when it comes to possibly adding more top-level teams to the mix. There's no doubt that Goodwin is going to score in bunches. He has to show he can hit open threes when they are there, and also develop his pull-up game.
As someone who draws as much contact as he does, Goodwin needs to show he can be a better free-throw shooter too. Right now, he makes them at around a 50-percent clip. That number needs to increase. Outside of that, Goodwin just needs to keep playing his game.
How he'd fit at Illinois
Illinois isn't exactly short on wings, but you can bet that Goodwin would find his way onto the floor in Champaign. He has that physical, gritty toughness that the Illini desperately need. His versatility at both ends of the floor would be a major asset as well. Goodwin has the ability to be one of the faces of the future for Illini basketball, and he'd make an impact from the day he arrived.
Where Illinois stands
The Illini have been at the top of Goodwin's list since last summer, when he called his home-state school the leader in his recruitment. Goodwin took multiple trips to Champaign in the summer and fall, and he is planning a return stop in the coming weeks.
"Illinois is at the top of my list," Goodwin said back in August. "It's my state school. I love them."
Goodwin came back in September, and word was that he wanted to pull the trigger on a commitment. But he was advised to wait. While he waited, Goodwin had a monster season on the hardwood. His primary and only focus was winning the state title. When he did so, Illini head coach John Groce was there to give him a big hug and they exchanged words.
Groce and his staff have built a great relationship with Goodwin and his family. Goodwin is also close with Illini junior Malcolm Hill and Illini commit Javon Pickett, who are both from the Belleville area. Hill and Pickett were also in Peoria for the state championship and congratulated Goodwin afterwards. Goodwin has talked about his strong bond with those two in the past.
"For (Javon) to commit to Illinois, I think that was a good move for him," Goodwin said back in February. "I think he might start something. Me and Javon are good friends. It could be a possibility that's where I'm going, but I don't know yet."
"Me and Malcolm have been talking," Goodwin said after his visit last August. "Every time I come, we have a conversation. He tells me this is the place to be."
In addition to that, Goodwin also knows what can be built at Illinois in the 2017 class with the collection of in-state talent.
"If we get everybody, it will be like the Fab Five all over again," Goodwin said over the summer.
Two other pieces of that puzzle are Illini target Jeremiah Tilmon and Illini commit Da'Monte Williams. It is well assumed that if Tilmon jumps on board, Goodwin will surely follow. They have a strong bond, and Goodwin has a good relationship with Williams as well.
"I talked to Jeremiah not too long ago. I shook Da'Monte's hand over here," Goodwin said in Peoria a few weeks back. "It's a family thing with us. We're all like brothers."
The Illini are trying to piece that brotherhood together. For now, Goodwin has said that he plans to wait until after the AAU season to make a decision. But the Illini could potentially shake up those plans, and Tilmon could be a huge factor in that.
Sizing up the competition
There are some formidable competitors for Goodwin, especially inside of the Big Ten. Goodwin took a visit to Iowa earlier this month, and he received an offer for football. He told IlliniInquirer.com that he has other visits planned for this spring. Goodwin wants to get back to Illinois, but he said in February that he also wants to visit Indiana and Purdue. Goodwin was excited about his offer from the Hoosiers during the season, and the Boilermakers seem like a great fit for his style of play.
Missouri has remained in contention, and they got him on campus for a game during the season. The Tigers got in the mix with an offer less than a month after Illinois. New teams are expressing interest as well, including Kansas, Notre Dame and Wisconsin. Goodwin will have no shortage of options if he continues to surge on the EYBL stage this spring and summer.