The 2012 class is full of wing prospects and one of them is Pennsylvania native, Savon Goodman. Savon is one of the most athletically gifted players in the class, with leaping ability that makes you say, “Wow.” Not only does he have the vertical, but his strength is quite an asset to his game at this stage. With a host of local schools showing tremendous interest in the prospect, he also boasts a lot of interest from out of state schools. BDN got a chance to get a quick update with the prospect and here is what he had to say.
So school just started for you, how is that going for you?
School flow is going good! Getting things back in order academically, and besides that everything else is well.
When do [private] your official practices start for school?
Official practice doesn’t start until about November, but we’ve been working out with just the team. They’re optional workouts. So everyone just comes to those. Just trying to get the chemistry and stuff together as a team.
I understand you guys were supposed to have an open gym a couple of days ago, how did that go?
Yes, and someone was up from Duke.
Who was there from Duke?
Did you get a chance to talk to him at all?
Yes, we just said cordial hello’s in passing.
Can you talk about that at all?
Well, in the past he said that he’s going to let Coach K know about me, and they’re going to start recruiting me hard. Just things like that, they like the way I play.
Was this your first time you’ve seen Coach Nate James or any of the Duke coaches?
No I’ve seen them a couple of times around the summer but I didn’t notice who he was, so he came up to our school. I just knew he was a representative of Duke.
Could you rhyme off a list of schools that have interest in you?
Offers are Villanova, Virginia Tech, Texas, Penn State, Temple, LaSalle, Miami, Xavier, Wake Forest, Oregon State, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech.
You’ve got a great list there. You work out with Lamont Peterson is that correct?
Yes, I do.
Could you talk a little bit about that and the relationship with him?
It’s a long relationship that we’ve had. He’s like a mentor in my life. We workout from time to time and he tells me what I need to work on, and I work on it and get better and we move onto the next thing.
Will he be a factor in your decision?
Yea, he will, I listen to his word.
Now, being a 2012 kid, is it too early to make a decision?
I figure when me, my mother, my trainer and my high school coach sit down we’ll probably have a list at the beginning of my senior season.
Alright, Savon, I appreciate your time and I hope you have a great year in school. Good luck.
Savon Goodman is a 6’6″ 205 lb wing, who repeatedly demonstrated violence against rims across the country with his mix of power and athleticism. Although he played a full slate of AAU tournaments and camps from California and Nevada to North Carolina and his native Pennsylvania, he worked extensively with Lamont Peterson, noted for his work with reigning NBA Rookie of the Year,Tyreke Evans, on both improving his perimeter shot and handle as well as his speed and explosiveness. On the high school level, he will play for Academy of the New Church in suburban Philadelphia, along with two of the best defensive big men in the country, 6’11″ Malcolm Gilbert, who verbally committed to Pittsburgh, and 6’9″ Rakeem Christmas, who verbally committed to Syracuse. At times, this past summer, Savon competed alongside Duke recruit, Amile Jefferson, for Team Philly, which is run by Lonnie Lowry, the older brother of former Villanova Wildcat and current Houston Rocket, Kyle Lowry. Savon spoke with Blue Devil Nation recently about the latest in his recruitment, his work with Lamont Peterson, playing alongside the aforementioned Christmas and Gilbert, and his impressions of Duke University.
I guess we’ll start with the most basic recruiting question. Which schools are after you?
West Virginia, Villanova, Temple, LaSalle, Georgetown, Penn State, Texas, and Florida. That’s all I know of right now.
Are those all firm offers or are they a mix of interest [private] and offers?
No, it’s a mix.
In terms of position, do you view yourself as a pure two, a three, or just a versatile wing?
I think, at the next level, I’ll be a two.
Will distance be a factor for you?
No, absolutely not.
Do you have a go-to move and where do you like to catch it?
I like to catch it in transition.
Yeah, absolutely. You’ve been able to do that for some time.
Yeah, yeah, but I wouldn’t say I have any one particular spot, but I guess on the wings so there’s some room to operate. Now that I think about it, I probably would like to catch it there every time. (laughs)
Who do you try to model your game after?
Well, you work out with his trainer, Lamont (Peterson).
Do you ever workout with Tyreke Evans?
Oh, yeah, yeah. We try. We can, but when he’s out in Sacramento and I’m in Philly, it’s tough. We definitely try.
Now, you also play at Academy of the New Church with Rakeem Christmas (Syracuse) and Malcolm Gilbert (Pittsburgh).
Are all of you guys coming back next year?
Oh, yeah. I know there’s been some rumors, but we’re coming back. I don’t know who started them.
Don’t worry about the rumors. I’m just glad to clear that up.
(laughs) Yeah, definitely.
What about Amile Jefferson? At times, he plays with you on the AAU circuit and you guys are very cohesive together. He’s told me that he thinks that, for whatever reason, you guys complement each other very well out there.
Yeah, yeah, we’ve played at several events together (Bob Gibbons, Las Vegas Fab 48, Desert Duel) and been successful. I’m not sure why. Maybe power and speed or something. We’re very different players, but it just clicked.
Now, there is a natural question for two elite-level AAU teammates who play well together and can play alongside each other at the next level. Have you guys talked about playing together in college or is it a matter of, if it happens, it happens?
Yeah, if it happens, it’s great, but, if not, that’s okay too.
Are you guys still very close?
Oh, yeah, absolutely, yeah, he’s like my brother. We get along and fight sometimes like brothers, but we’re definitely cool.
What’s your current weight and and height?
I’m 205 and about 6’6.”
Who will you seek guidance from before you do ultimately decide in recruiting?
Definitely my parents and my high school coach
What would you like the audience to know about you away from the court?
That I’m a cool dude. I’m laid back off the court, but I like to talk and communicate on it. I’m easy to hang around with.
What would you say your range is right now? Where do you feel comfortable shooting the ball?
I feel comfortable shooting the ball anywhere, but I think I need to improve my confidence in shooting the ball past the three-point line.
Do you work on your three-point shot a lot? You have the reputation of being a great finisher around the basket and in transition, but that you need some work on your outside shot.
Oh, yeah. I work on my three-point shot and my dribbling every day to just try to add that to my game and wipeout my weaknesses. I definitely am trying to improve on my outside shot.
I always think that’s a big step in a young player’s game, when they can acknowledge their weaknesses and, instead of hiding it, work to improve on or get rid of them. What would you say is your greatest strength right now that you bring to the court?
I definitely think it’s getting to the bucket. I feel like I can really do that well.
You’re a very good slasher.
Yeah, I try to be. I think my weaknesses right now are my dribbling and my jump shot. Believe me, I’m going to be getting to work on those two things as soon and as much a I can.
Do you still view this as early?
Oh, yeah, we haven’t sat down and really looked at the schools or anything.
Have you visited any schools yet?
Really, just the local ones.
Can you talk about the experience of playing with the twin towers of Christmas (Syracuse) and Gilbert (Pittsburgh)? How has it gone so far? What have you learned from those guys?
Rakeem, he’s one of the most dominating big men in his class. Well, let’s just say it’s been interesting. (laughs) Playing with those guys helps take some of the pressure off of me and it also forces me to work on my perimeter game. I mean they are so big and take up so much room that I really can’t fit in there and score easy buckets. It’s probably a good thing in the long run. I know at the next level that this will pay off, even though I love to post up and use my body inside. On the AAU level, I can though and I definitely enjoy it a lot.
What’s your role going to be on the team this year?
Handling the ball, helping to control the possessions and get our team’s best shot. We were too sloppy, at time, with the ball last year. my role is going to expand a little bit this year. I’m taking more control and even more of a leadership role.
Now, one of your rivals was knocking your school and saying “oh, it’s isn’t a good school and they don’t do real work,” but I looked into it and found out that it is a quality school, has a good track record of sending kids to quality colleges, and they teach Latin.
Yeah, absolutely, it is a good school and very challenging. I think sometimes guys just try to knock what they don’t know or are jealous of.
I’d like to get back to your work or training with Lamont Peterson. You mentioned that you’re working on your dribbling and your perimeter shot. How is that going?
It’s going well so far. Basically, every chance I get, I’m working out with Lamont Peterson. We’re trying to work on things.
Now, what do you guys work on? Can you give the audience a normal routine of what a typical workout for the two of you to work on?
Absolutely, we’re trying to work on quickness and my explosion as well, but, in the first hour to forty-five minutes, we do nothing , but handling. We just work on improving and strengthening my handle. Then, take a quick break and come back to work an hour and a half on my shooting. We’re going after that hard. We finish up with conditioning.
So, you really are working much harder on your basketball skills than your conditioning with him. A friend of mine who happens to be friends with Evans said that those two would concentrate primarily on conditioning, when Evans was in high school.
Oh, yeah, for us, conditioning comes last in terms of priorities.
BDN: I just assumed that he was working on your conditioning because of his experience with Tyreke Evans and the fact that you’re frankly in great physical shape, compared to even most of the elite players in your class.
Well, thanks, but, no, we’ve been mostly working on just improving my basketball skills. Dribbling and shooting.
I know you played at the Bob Gibbons Tournament. Did you get a chance to play at Duke at all?
Oh, yeah, we played the Wisconsin Playground there. It was a great experience.That was the first time that I was ever there.
What was your impression?
It looked or felt different than it does on TV. It felt smaller and it wasn’t packed (laughs) for our game. For me, it felt great personally and I would never mind playing there.
Would you ever visit the school unofficially if the program picked up its interest in you?
Oh, yeah, I’d be right down there (laughs). That’s no problem. Believe me.
I know it’s still early, but have you personally talked with any of their coaches yet.
Me, no, not just yet. I’m definitely open to them. Definitely.
What’s your impression of the school and the program?
I don’t know about their school too much right now, other than they have an excellent reputation, but nothing too specific. I do know about their basketball program. I mean they are the defending national champions and put players in the league. What else can somebody say about them? No coach or player can knock them. You go there, you listen to what the coaches tell you, you do your work, and eventually, hopefully, you move on the next level, either in the NBA or overseas. Plus, with a Duke degree, if you get hurt or things don’t necessarily work out, you’re going to get a job. Case closed. Nobody or player should be listening to any negative recruiting against Duke.
Lastly, out of curiosity, do you prefer to play in a more methodical, half-court offense where you can occasionally post-up, which is close to what you do now in high-school, or an uptempo offense, where you take advantage of your athleticism and slashing ability?
Oh, definitely, I love to get up-and-down. I love to run and use my athleticism. [/private]