It was foregone knowledge that Savon Goodman wanted to make official. So he checked himself a few times in the green-room mirror of the Comcast SportsNet studios yesterday and shook away the jitters before making his first television appearance. In 2 years, there's going to be plenty more of Goodman on TV. He just wanted to announce it himself that he is going . . . "to Villanova" . . . on a basketball scholarship starting in 2012.
Goodman, who attends Academy of the New Church, joins what now is a trio of local stars heading to play for Wildcats coach Jay Wright, along with Neshaminy's Ryan Arcidiacono and Liberty's (Bethlehem, Pa.) Darrun Hilliard. But Goodman may be the biggest catch in Wright's recruiting bounty.
The 6-6, 200-pound swingman is considered one of the best juniors in the nation, and he's coming off a spectacular State Farm Tournament in Chicago last weekend, scoring 24 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in ANC's stunning 56-50 upset over No. 1 rated Findlay Prep.
Goodman just wanted to end the process and enjoy his final 2 years of high school basketball, while preparing himself for the Big East. He chose Villanova over Kentucky, Texas, Duke and UCLA. He made only one unofficial visit and that was to Villanova in mid-September.
Goodman, originally from Southwest Philadelphia and now living in Willow Grove, called Wright on Monday night to tell him he would be going to Villanova.
"I just got this loud scream on the other end of the phone," said Goodman, who's averaging 16.7 points and 14 rebounds a game this season. "Coach Wright told me I was his biggest recruit and that he's really happy to have me as part of the Villanova family, and that hopefully I'll add to the great Villanova basketball history."
No other school was in the running, Goodman said. A big key was proximity. He wanted to be close to his sisters, Quentia and Imani, and his aunt, Heather Goodman.
"This way they can see me play every game; I didn't visit any other schools," Goodman said. "But I'm really happy to get this over with. It was like someone removed a mountain off my back. But this is very motivating for me now. I have to work even harder, knowing I'm going to Villanova and getting prepared to play at that level."
Goodman said Wright told him he projects him as a two-guard or possible swingman, mixing a little perimeter game with Goodman's ability to slash to the basket. Goodman feels he can handle that role, similar to what Corey Stokes now plays for the Wildcats.
It has been a long road for Goodman, who admits at one time he couldn't make a layup without first dribbling the ball off his leg. He's light years from the player who was once picked last in playground pickup games.
"I always dreamed I'd be at this level, and I kept working hard at it," Goodman said. "Now that this big decision is over, I think being on TV was the most nervous I've been in my life. But everything worked out and now that everyone I know and who's close to me is happy, I can concentrate on playing high school the next 2 years and have fun with it, knowing where I'm going."