‘Goodwin’ for men’s basketball team

Maria Baldwin, Sports Features Writer

Not many children were as focused as Montell Goodwin was when he was young.

Goodwin, a transfer junior guard for the Eastern men’s basketball team, was playing in recreaction leagues at a young age because he loved the game of basketball, and he loved to run around.

“My dad used to play basketball, so he got me playing,” Goodwin said. “I loved running around and having fun with my friends, but what I really loved was seeing the excitement on my parent’s faces.”

Goodwin, a Cleveland native, also played baseball growing up but after high school stuck to basketball while attending Mineral Area Community College.

While at MACC, Goodwin earned NJCAA honorable mention All-American honors. As a sophomore he averaged 12.9 points shooting 38 percent from 3-point range and led his team to a 25-5 record including a No. 18 ranking in the final NJCAA polls.

Goodwin was named first team All-Region XVI and first team All-MCCAC Conference.

Goodwin also played his freshman season at Lakeland Community College in Ohio earning NJCAA All-Region XII honors after leading team to OCCAC District 11 Championship and led the team to a 3-1 record in NJCAA Division II National Tournament placing fifth in the nation.

Goodwin was the second leading scorer in the conference averaging 16.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game and earned All-OCCAC honors shooting 40 percent from 3-point range and 52 percent from the field.

After all of this, Goodwin decided Eastern was the best place for him to advance to the Division I level.

“Coach (Jay) Spoonhour and the guys were so welcoming to me when I visited, I knew I was coming here,” Goodwin said. “Everything clicked when I came here. Playing on a Division I team now means a lot to me. For me to accomplish this, it means so much to me. It hit me when I put my uniform on the other day.”

Goodwin said other schools were considering him, including Louisiana Tech, Tulsa, Missouri State, and Mercer.

Challenges were just a stepping-stone for Goodwin, who now believes he has a leadership role for the Panther squad.

“I’ve had to overcome a few challenges in my career, but everything I’ve had to go through as a student-athlete has led me and helped me get to this point,” Goodwin said. “I bring a leadership role to the team, even though I’m new, I’m an older guy, and I just want to help the younger guys out. I just want to teach them skills that I’ve learned.”

Sophomore Marshawn Blackmon has experienced this leadership role first hand.

“He’s a great player and even better person,” Blackmon said. “He can score the ball well, and he’s a good passer. He’s a really cool guy too, and never has a frown on his face. He is easy to talk to, and very humble.”

During Goodwin’s first game in an Eastern uniform, he scored 17 points, and he said he scored those points because Spoonhour lets him play his game.

“Everything that I’m bringing to the table can benefit us because we are trying to go to the OVC tournament,” Goodwin said. “Everything we can learn early on will help us in the future, and even in the future years, but especially in February. My goals are just to be the best player I can be and to help out the team in any way.”

At the end of the day, however, Goodwin is just the same player he was when he was a young: a baller who loves the game and just loves to run around the court.

“I’m a scoring point guard and I just like to run around,” Goodwin said. “I like to shoot the three and play in transition, but I also like to get my teammates involved. If you don’t have a good relationship with your teammates off the court, it’s hard to have one on the court. Having that great bond helps on the court when you’re trying to win games.”

Running around, shooting the ball and communicating with his teammates are crucial to him, but his favorite thing involves the way the game is played for all forty minutes.

“My favorite thing about being a guard is that I always have the ball in my hands, I control the game and I dictate the game.”

The Panthers open the season Friday at home against the University of St. Francis with a 7 p.m. tip.

Maria Baldwin can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]