|Goodman celebrates next step in career
|Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2012 7:00 pm
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
Brandi Goodman got her cake, but she didn’t get to eat it, too.
And she was just fine with that.
The Obion County Central girls’ basketball standout chose to forego the traditional indulgence enjoyed by those who sign college scholarships at OCCHS on Wednesday after she inked a letter-of-intent with the University of Memphis.
“Can’t have any,” the Lady Rebel senior grinned while her teammates enjoyed a cake adorned with Tiger school colors. “I’m in training. And I never really liked cake anyway.”
Otherwise, it was a sweet day for Goodman, who made official her decision to attend the U of M after verbally making that commitment last month.
“It a relief as much as anything,” said the 6-2 senior center who averaged 18 points and 15 rebounds last season while earning All-State honors and leading Central to the Class 2A state championship game. “Now I can just go out and play and not worry about anything.”
She’d taken official visits and had scholarship offers from both UT Martin and Southeast Missouri State, and said she also had an interest in Michigan and South Carolina.
Admittedly shy and somewhat uncomfortable with all the attention she receives both on and off the court, Goodman said she enjoyed some — but not all — of the recruiting process.
“I liked knowing I had several opportunties to get a college education paid for through basketball, and obviously I liked hearing that people thought I was good enough to play on the next level,” she claimed.
“I didn’t like all the phone calls (from colleges coaches), though. It’s tough for me to talk to people I don’t know. I don’t know what to say to strangers some times. And sometimes, I just don’t like talking at all.”
Blessed with the aforementioned size to excel on the hardwood, Goodman — who scored 1,442 points entering her senior campaign that began Tuesday night — has had to work diligently to attain her standout status.
She has improved by leaps and bounds in the mobility department, focusing on footwork and conditioning in addition to her fundamental basketball skills.
Goodman conceded she wasn’t really sure the game was for her until midway through her sophomore season when she ended up averaging 20 points and 14 rebounds per-game.
“My first love was softball,” she said. “When I first started training seriously, I didn’t know if I could make it. I definitely had to start with the basics, and I just tried to turn my weaknesses into strengths.
“Now, I don’t even know if I could swing a softball bat. And I’m totally focused on only basketball now.”
Obion County Central head coach Lyle LaRue confirmed that Goodman is indeed self-made on the court.
“Her success and this (scholarship) opportunity come from putting in the time before and after practice,” insisted LaRue. “Whatever skill level she has now comes from hard work. God blessed her with the height. The rest has come from her desire and want-to.”
Neither player nor coach is concerned about the culture change Goodman will undergo next fall when she goes from small-town rural West Tennessee girl to the bright lights and population explosion of the Bluff City.
“I’m ready for bigger challenges, and I know I have to leave here in order to have those,” she said. “And I want other young girls to look at me and see that you can make it out there and don’t have to stay here.
“I just felt comfortable there (in Memphis) on my official visit. I really don’t think it’ll be that big of an adjustment, just because of that.”
LaRue said: “I’d at first told the Memphis coaches that getting her to the big city might be their biggest hurdle. But in retrospect, I think she’ll probably be spending most of her time in the gym — and they all look alike inside, no matter where they are.”
Asked if she’d have a special meal to celebrate her signing, and to detail her eating habits and diet, Goodman listed cereal, oatmeal, fruits and vegetables along with tuna and chicken as commonly enjoyed meals. She admitted to missing pizza the most from her past selections, but said she does occasionally enjoy a slice or two.
No cake, though, because “the icing makes me sick.”
A different type of icing on a different kind of cake Wednesday went down just fine.
Published in The Messenger 11.15.12