Memphis Tigers Freshman Forward Shaq Goodwin Becoming Major Contributor

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Most players entering their first year of college basketball get an eye opener at how much more goes into it. Practices are more structured, longer, intense, and faster. Teammates’ skill levels are comparable or even better.

The mental aspect may be the biggest adjustment with the season being longer and more stressful.

Early practices with the Memphis Tigers were an eye opener for McDonald’s All-American Shaq Goodwin.

It’s been reported that during the early practices, Goodwin tended to cruise through and look for shortcuts.

“(Shaq’s approach was) ‘What’s the bare minimum I can do?’ I told him (in a practice earlier this year) that if he continued to play like (he was playing), you’re gonna sit all year long,” Josh Pastner told the Commercial Appeal.

Something has clicked since then because Goodwin has worked his way into the starting lineup and into a major contributor for the team.

Goodwin is averaging 7.5 points, a team leading 5.3 rebounds and 20 minutes per game. He is also leading the team in total steals from the forward position with 10.

In last week’s 93-65 win against Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks, Goodwin recorded his first career double-double with a 17-point, 12-rebound effort.

Through six games, Goodwin has shown a variety of skills.

For his size at 246 pounds, he has great timing and ability to jump in front of opponents to steal the basketball. He is a pass first post player with a good touch at the free-throw line.

Don’t be surprised to see him steal the basketball and lead the fast break.

There’s still room for improvement, but the Tigers staff is pleased with his progress.

Patosha Jeffery is the Memphis Tigers Featured Columnist at Rant Sports. Be sure to follow her on Twitter: @patoshajeffery and add her Google + to your circles for all of her latest articles and thoughts.

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