La Salle coach John Giannini decided not to start Vernon Goodridge last night against Bucknell, which seemed to be somewhat of a surprise considering the lofty expectations that were put on the Mississippi St. transfer. As it turned out, Goodridge didn't start because he was a little late in returning from the Thanksgiving break, according to Giannini.
Goodridge has struggled on both ends of the floor. When he gets the ball in the low post, he is not trying to break down his man quick enough, allowing for double-teams to become a problem. Goodridge has become so accustomed to passing out of the double-teaming that when it doesn't come, he isn't recognizing it and is still passing the ball out, instead of going strong to the basket.
Defensively, the 6-9, 230-pounder is a legitimate shot blocker and is very intimidating to would-be penetrators. He does, however, get into foul trouble too much. Goodridge did put in a solid 19 minutes, collecting 7 points and 8 rebounds and blocking 3 shots. His most impressive move was a sweet turnaround, baseline 5-foot jumper that gave the Explorers a 13-point lead with just under 12 minutes left.
As insignificant as that basket may have seemed during La Salle's 68-65 win, it no doubt was big in the eyes of the Explorer coaches. Goodridge got the ball with his back to the basket and quickly made his move before anyone on Bucknell could dig down on him, something the Bison had done extremely well all night.
On a side note, if you attended the La Salle-Bucknell game last night, pay attention to Sunday's Eagles-Giants game. One of last night's officials, Gene Steratore (the young, dark-haired official) is also an NFL ref, and he'll be working at the Meadowlands this weekend.