Shaq Goodwin, SOPH., F
Weight: Currently listed at 242 lbs, but slashed a lot of weight over the summer
Birth Date: September 1, 1994
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
Last Season Stats: 7.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.3 APG and 1.1 BPG
A huge problem for the Memphis Tigers last season was the low-post play. Tarik Black, who transferred to Kansas, never lived up to expectations and wasn’t the same after being benched early in the season for an incident at practice in which he walked out. Stan Simpson was, well, Stan Simpson. The best post player was D.J. Stephens, who at 6-foot-5, wasn’t a true big man.
However, all three have moved on, leaving just sophomore Shaq Goodwin as the only returning big man from last year’s team. As a freshman, Goodwin was no stranger to the ups and downs that came with adjusting from the high school to college game. At times, he looked lost, while on other occasions he looked like a future star for Memphis. He’d pull down 10 rebounds one game, then just two the next.
It’s not like it’s a huge surprise, though. After all, Goodwin was just a freshman and with a lack of depth or big bodies in the paint, head coach Josh Pastner basically had to throw him into the fire from the get go. He ended up starting 33 of the team’s 36 games and played a big role as a freshman, but had to learn from his mistakes as the season went.
Goodwin will have an even bigger role this year. If he can become more consistent, he has the potential to be a force for Memphis.
Pastner wants him to rebound at a higher rate and increase his point output. Cutting around 40 pounds in the offseason should help with both greatly. Goodwin was already pretty quick on his feet, but should be even more so now that he’s gotten himself in better shape. Losing all the weight will allow him to better maneuver around defenders and get up higher for rebounds. It’s also going to give him more stamina, something he needs on a team that plays a fast, high-tempo pace. He’s going to be playing above the rim this year instead of at it is how Goodwin put it.
His role this season will be even more crucial than last year. Because Goodwin is the only returning big man, he knows the schemes better than anyone down low. Senior David Pellom, a George Washington transfer, has three years of college basketball under his belt, so the learning curve for him is much smaller. The rest, however, are all true freshmen.
That means not only will Goodwin be counted upon to increase his production, but also be a leader and mentor to the younger guys, a big task for a kid that just turned 19 himself.
Goodwin is expected to start again this season and will be a huge piece to the Tigers’ success in the team’s first season in the AAC. Goodwin didn’t just lose all that weight, he’s also replacing some of the fat with muscle. He was pushed around against some of the bigger guys last season, but he’s getting stronger so that shouldn’t happen nearly as often.
There’s a lot of hype around freshman Austin Nichols, however, don’t be surprised if Goodwin ends up being the best low-post player on Memphis in 2013-14. He has a ton of potential and athletic ability, not to mention he is in the best shape of his life. Expect Goodwin to show why he was a top-50 prospect this year.