The hurry up and wait strategy for Justin Goode was not fun at the time, but the benefits are clear to him after 10 months in the Rutgers basketball program.
Goode enrolled early after a graduate semester at Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy earned a Rutgers scholarship offer. The 6-foot-2 guard enrolled in January only to red-shirt the rest of his season for development purposes.
“I probably needed the time, especially the practice time to learn the things I’m going to need,” Goode said. “I was definitely lost when I first got here, but now I’ve got it. I know the ins and outs of what my job is. I’m a lot more loose out there on the court, and I’m playing better.”
Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan recruited Goode as a jump shooter, and the challenge now is the transition to complete guard.
“I’ve felt good with my shot,” said Goode, who was a 90 percent free throw shooter and 20-point per game scorer in high school. “I’ve put in a ton of extra reps before and after practice. I know that’s how people look at me, but I want to keep working to show I’m more than just a shooter. That’s where all of the extra time in practice with these guys helps.”
Goode is not in the conversation for one of the three open slots in the starting rotation. He represents a solid shooting option off the bench in Jordan’s new offense.
The move away from the Princeton style fits Goode more efficiently, he said.
“I love the change,” said the red-shirt freshman. “Spacing is the key for this offense. We’re getting our shooters open by spacing the floor. We’re maximizing the three-point shot. It’s going to be more exciting.”
Goode was the first of Jordan’s 2015 class to enroll, which includes point guard Corey Sanders, wing Jonathan Laurent and transfers Omari Grier, DeShawn Freeman and Nigel Johnson.
Sanders stood out early as the headliner, and is the leading contender to take over Myles Mack’s starting position.
“Corey is really exciting,” Goode said. “We didn’t really know what kind of point guard he would be because there’s different classifications, but he’s definitely a pass-first kind of guy. It’s fun to be on the court with him. You run down and know that if you’re ready for the shot, he’s going to pass it to you.”