ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Jordan Goodman, a junior college All-American small forward, will play basketball for Craig Neal and the University of New Mexico Lobos.
The versatile 6-foot-9 wing player from Maryland who played the past two seasons at Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, Pa., signed a National Letter of Intent to play for UNM on Monday.
Shortly after news of his commitment broke, Goodman himself took to Twitter to confirm the decision, writing “Im Takin My Talents To ABQ New Mexico To Be A University Of New Mexico #LOBO”
Im Takin My Talents To ABQ New Mexico To Be A University Of New Mexico #LOBO
— Jordan Goodman (@BeenGettinChose) April 28, 2014
Goodman told the Journal earlier this month he was looking for a school that would give him the best opportunity to not only excel on the court, but to give him the best opportunity to better his life off the court.
The 21-year-old Goodman was in a car accident in which his best friend died when he was 11. His mom died when he was 14. He went to nine high schools and had verbally committed to three Division I programs (Georgetown, Rutgers and Texas Tech) before attending Harcum the past two years, where assistant coach Kevon Davis said he was a very coachable player and excellent teammate.
“All the tools are there for him,” Davis told the Journal. “If he keeps working at it, he has a chance to be really good. And if the fans get to know him, I know they’re going to love him.”
The decision on Monday, according to the man Goodman calls his mentor who had a large role in the player’s recruiting, was every bit as much about life off the court as on it.
“The academic structure they have around the players was outstanding,” said Everett McNeely, who along with Deon Goodman, Jordan’s father, joined the future Lobo in Albuquerque for a recruiting visit April 18 and 19. “The whole university staff around Jordan and the players there, not just the basketball coaches, but the whole structure there was really what made the decision for us.”
After competing over the weekend in Dallas in the All-American Availables Showcase tournament for junior college players, Goodman was bumped up to the No. 1 ranked small forward and No. 3 prospect in the nation according to 247sports.com’s junior college player rankings.
Goodman averaged 18.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game as a sophomore this past season at Harcum. He led the Bears to a 32-5 record and a trip to the NJCAA Division I Final Four before being named a first team All-American. He will be a junior with two seasons of eligibility remaining at UNM.
His commitment is welcome news for a Lobos program looking to replace 73.1 percent of its scoring from a 27-win team this past season. It has seen seven players (six on scholarship) leave the program since a March loss in the NCAA Tournament.
“Jordan is very talented and will help us make up some of the lost scoring from last year,” Neal said. “He is a multi-dimensional player, and we will play him at a variety of positions on the floor.”
Guard Kendall Williams, forward Cameron Bairstow and guard Chris Perez (a non-scholarship walk-on) exhausted their eligibility after this past season. Center Alex Kirk left with one season of eligibility remaining to pursue a professional career. Guard Cleveland “Pancake” Thomas and forwards Nick Banyard and Tim Myles are transferring out of the program. Williams, Bairstow and Kirk were starters while Perez, Thomas, Banyard and Myles were reserves.
Along with Goodman, who was heavily recruited by assistant Craig Snow, the Lobos have locked up four players in a 2014 recruiting class that has six available scholarships.
In November, high school players Xavier Adams, a guard from Texas, and Joe Furstinger, a forward from California, signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Lobos. Earlier this month, UNM signed 6-10 center J.J. N’Ganga of Northern Oklahoma College-Tonkawa.
Neal has already alluded to his desire to run a more up-temp, guard-oriented offense next season without Kirk and Bairstow in the lineup. While it is uncertain who will start in the post, and the incoming freshman may have a say in things when they arrive on campus as well, Goodman’s commitment makes determining the early favorites for the starting four guards/wings fairly easy.
“I’m a team player first,” Goodman told the Journal earlier this month. “It may sound cliché or corny, but I’d rather have zero points and win than have 30 points and lose. I’ve been that dude before where I’m scoring 30 or 40 and I broke a scoring record, but did I win? You can play against a good player, but can you beat him?”
McNeely on Monday reiterated that sentiment.
“He wanted to go somewhere and be a piece of the puzzle on a team, but didn’t want to go somewhere he was the only piece,” McNeely said.
Goodman will likely join on the wing 6-5 Deshawn Delaney, a senior-to-be who came on strong down the stretch for the Lobos, averaging 10.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists while shooting 60.0 percent from the field in the MWC and NCAA tournaments. Delaney, also a former junior college All-American, started 23 games for the Lobos.
The starting guards are expected to be 6-3 Hugh Greenwood, a steady three-year starter who will play with the Australian National team this summer, and 6-4 Cullen Neal, who was the team’s fourth leading scorer this past season as a freshman.
To read the profile on Goodman published in the April 19 Journal, CLICK HERE.