The Anthony Goods Watch is on.
Over the next few weeks, he will take all of his official visits of the spring and most likely make a college decision. This past weekend he finished his first visit to California, and next Sunday (5/23) will start his Stanford official trip that runs through that Tuesday. One week later he will head to the Pacific Northwest for his third and (probably) final visit to Washington. That trip will start either May 31 or June 1, depending on final scheduling with his mother. As recently as last week we thought two more official visits were possible for the spring, but he now reports that they are off the table.
Reading between the lines, that puts the Jackets and Jayhawks on the outside looking in for Goods' services, and it sets up the three Pac-10 programs as the putative finalists in this race. Three visits in three weeks, with a commitment likely to follow sometime in June. Thus it is time to get out the cyber-magnifying glass to scrutinize each of the Centennial High School (Corona, Calif.) junior's moves. First up, his visit to Cal.
In recounting the various events of his first-ever trip to Berkeley, Goods had the chance to:
- Play three-on-three basketball with the Cal players, including Richard Midgley, Marquise Kately, Dominic McGuire, David Paris and Ayinde Ubaka.
- Eat several magnificent meals
- Tour the locker room and various facilities at Haas Pavilion
- Meet with an academic advisor as well as the Dean of the Business School
- See downtown San Francisco and "go down those steep hills", as well as crossing the Golden Gate Bridge
The pickup basketball is one of the experiences that a recruit can directly compare across the various schools he visits. These informal games can give him a glance at the competition at his position he may face in his early years, as well as the talent level he would enjoy with him on the court. Chemistry is another important dimension.
But Anthony Goods did not come away with any of these areas at the top of his mind after a late-night hoops session that did not wrap up until 10:30 PM. He instead marveled at the gap between his high school/AAU ball and what he will see at the Pac-10 level.
"It was eye-opening," the jolted junior blusters. "It was a chance for me to feel my way out - I'm just a high school junior against these college level players, and it wasn't even close. Those guys are way, way more explosive than what I've played with before. It was a trip. No doubt about it. I have some things to work on."
The other jaw-dropping experience was going out to dinner with the Cal coaches. He was joined by all four members of the staff, Goods' eyes were fixated on the plate of the head coach, who lived up to his legendary reputation.
"I had heard about it from somebody beforehand, but boy, Coach Braun can really put the good away!" the recruit exclaims.
Ben Braun also made a display of the Cal depth chart to illustrate the playing time opportunities that will be available when the fall of 2005 rolls around. The Bears have not signed any backcourt players in the current senior class, which leaves just Midgley (senior) and Ubaka (junior) ahead of Goods at the two guard positions when he arrives as a freshman.
"The rest are pretty much wings," he says of the projected Cal roster. "I could back up both of those two guys my first year and pick up more time from there."
Goods also notes that he did not see much of the Bears on the television this past season, so he was enlightened by the highlight film that was shown to him by the coaches during his visit. That helped to illustrate the style of play Cal employs, as well as their sets.
"They said they see me as a combo guard who can bring the ball up the floor and them play the wing spot," the recruit recalls. "They also showed how Leon Powe gets doubled every play, which means the ball can kick out to the guards for great looks."
Stanford fans may take all this in, but the truth is that this recruiting battle has been viewed for a long time as one that will be fought in the Admissions Office. Should the good folks in Old Union see it in their wisdom to admit Goods, then Stanford should hold as his favorite - barring a bad visit. The SoCal combo guard says that he has no new word from the Cardinal coaches on the application, other than the fact that it is in the hands of the admissions personnel. In the meantime, we can ask the question of whether this visit blew him away or not.
"My expectations were low in some ways, coming in, because of what some other people at my school had said when they visited [Cal]," Goods describes. "But I really liked it. It's not just a closed campus - the city is right there. You are 15 minutes away from San Francisco, and Oakland is close by, too. There is also Telegraph Avenue. The players were real humble and real cool."
"After this trip, I would say I am very pleased with Cal," he finishes. "I don't have anything to compare, since this is my first official visit, but it did not hurt Cal at all. I think they helped themselves."
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