The road might not have been ideal, but Kenny Goins got where he wanted to in the end.
The Warren Mott (Mich.) power forward accepted a preferred walk-on spot at Michigan State on Monday, fulfilling a dream he has had since he was little.
"Everyone says chase your dreams and my dream was presented to me," Goins said. "I just love Michigan State."
The 6-foot-8. 220-pound power forward, who grew up going to Michigan State games, chose to walk on over scholarship offers from many Division 1 schools. He said his final schools of interest were Central Michigan, Oakland and Detroit.
The contact came about in the middle of his high school season, as his AAU coach Mark Webster asked him if he could play college anywhere, where would it be.
"I said if anywhere, Michigan State," Goins said. "He said he would see what he could do.
"Next thing I know, I got a call from Coach (Dwayne) Stephens and that's what started the talks between me and the coaches. After that, it just kind of took off and they offered me a preferred walk-on spot."
A few unofficial visits came between the initital contact in January and his decision Monday, all of which just served to solidify what his heart told him.
"He was a straight shooter about everything," he said. "I didn't really expect anything else, but the first time I met him was after a loss and not many coaches that get over a loss quick.
"We were chatting and he was smiling and whatnot, but he said straight up if I wanted to come and walk on, my future depends on me and the ball is in my hands."
Goins took off as a senior, averaging 21.2 points, 14.9 rebounds and 4.8 blocks per game and being named first-team all-state in Class A. After Mott lost four seniors after last season, he said he knew it was his time to make an impact.
"We lost four starters last year – all seniors that were 6-8 or taller, so I went from being average height on the team to being the big dog," he said. "I had to take over a few games, so really, I don't like to lose so I do whatever it takes to win."
He also said it was a credit to his summer playing AAU basketball for the first time with R.E.A.C.H. The fact it was his first time on the summer circuit provided his status as under-the-radar.
"I do feel like I would have had more exposure had I played more years of AAU basketball, but that's how the cards fell," he said.
But everything still fell together so that he would wind up exactly where he wanted to: As a Michigan State Spartan.
"Really it was I guess a dream come true because I dreamed of playing there, I dreamed of playing for Tom Izzo, who is probably a hall of fame coach by the end of his career," he said. "I love the campus, the coaches there. They have a tight-knit family bond as a team. The prestige of the program is unmatched across the nation. I feel if I work hard enough that hopefully one day I will get a chance to play on national TV.
"I guess you can just say I've been bleeding green for a while."