Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Norcross' senior guard Brandon Goodwin, a Division I recruit, hopes to bring championships back to the Blue Devils.
THE GOODWIN FILE
Who: Brandon Goodwin
Favorite athlete: Deron Williams
Favorite TV show: "SpongeBob SquarePants"
Favorite thing to do on a basketball court: "Getting hyped"
Dream job: To start his own business
-- Averages 14 points and 3.8 assists per game
-- Receiving college interest from Miami, Virginia Tech, Ole Miss, Georgia Southern, College of Charleston, Miami (Ohio) and College of Southern Idaho
-- Decommitted from Southern Miss
-- Enjoys playing "Call of Duty" on his PlayStation 3
There's a fulcrum between desire and necessity, and Brandon Goodwin lives on that tenuous, teetering middle.
In his honest moments, the Norcross senior wants to take the shot; wants to make the shot.
"I like to score. I like to get to the basket and fire it up," he said. "There is nothing wrong with point guard, but I do prefer scoring."
It's what he did last year. He averaged 15.2 points per game and oversaw, by Norcross basketball standards, a disappointing season. The scoring came natural. On the courts of his youth in South Carolina, Goodwin remembers earning the name "Little M.J." for Michael Jordan. On the lower rims, he put up nearly 30 points a game. But after last year, Goodwin's role changed from primary scorer to point guard for Norcross. Starting in August, he turned his attention to his teammates and passing before shooting.
"Last year, I had to score a lot more. This year I have a lot of help. I am turning into, like, a pure point guard. I can depend on my teammates," Goodwin said. "(Last year) coach was depending on me to take all the shots. I appreciate that because I have a lot of help."
And this isn't just talk. From last season to this one, he's scoring 1.2 fewer points per game and averaging a full assist more. At the minimum, those numbers mean Norcross is averaging at least one point more per game just from Goodwin's altered approach and the ramifications from there are endless. More teammates involved, different scoring threats, uncertain defenders.
"It's been fun. If I get my teammates going, I get myself going," Goodwin said. "I like dishing the rock.
"It opens up new scoring (chances)."
Goodwin talks about this growth in mature and even pragmatic terms. It's about winning now and opportunities later.
"At the next level, everyone is a lot bigger. I am going to have a teammate who can score and do things better than me," Goodwin said. "Learning how to play both is better for (Norcross). I am learning how to be a point guard, finally. As I was growing up, I was a point guard, but not really."
No, he was a scorer. Now, he's becoming both.
Once committed to Southern Miss, Goodwin backed out of the choice to keep his options open through his senior season. He has interest from Miami, Virginia Tech, Ole Miss, Georgia Southern, College of Charleston, Miami (Ohio) and College of Southern Idaho, but he's not planning on making any selection until he's certain. Recruiting hasn't been his favorite experience.
"It was fun at first, but now you have to build relationships with coaches and you have to say no to most of them," he said. "I want to make a good decision because I want to be there for four years. I don't want to have to transfer.
"I'm going to stick to my decision this time, so I am going to take my time and take my visits."
Through high school, Goodwin learned the challenges of moving around. He played on Norcross' freshman team before leaving for a year to attend New Birth Christian Academy. He returned to Norcross the next season, escaping the sex scandal involving New Birth's bishop Eddie Long.
That year, Goodwin broke onto the scene in Class AAAAA with his scoring. Now, he hopes by doing a bit less shooting Norcoss can reclaim its rank among the best in Class AAAAAA.
"It's a challenge. I like challenges," Goodwin said. "The history here. I like the expectations. I know I can live up to them."