Demetri “Meech” Goodson probably surprised a few of his teammates, the five Western Kentucky defenders and most of the 18,794 inside the Rose Garden when he delivered his game-winning shot in the Bulldogs’ 83-81 victory Saturday in Portland.
But not his high school coach.
Sitting in front of the television set at his Texas home, Tim Schumacher was thankful CBS switched from the Texas-Duke game to show the final 24.8 seconds of GU-WKU. Prior to that, he watched the Zags’ game on his computer.
“Doesn’t surprise us down here,” said Schumacher, who coached Goodson at Klein Collins High, just outside of Houston. “He’s a winner. He’s going to find a way to win – get a stop, make a basket, make a pass. He’ll do it.”
The first images Schumacher saw triggered flashbacks. WKU’s Orlando Mendez-Valdez brought the ball across mid court and cameras caught Goodson in defensive position, eagerly clapping.
“It just reminded me of when we were playing Jai Lucas, (ex-NBA guard) John’s son and a McDonald’s All-American,” said Schumacher, recalling the semifinals of a prestigious tournament. “We were up by a basket or a point and they were coming down and ‘Meech’ was standing there clapping, saying, ‘Let’s go.’
“We won. They didn’t get a shot off.”
Goodson’s shot Saturday sent Gonzaga into the Sweet 16 and a Friday contest against top-seeded North Carolina. Before he hopped on the team bus, he gave Schumacher a call. Goodson said the last couple days have been non-stop text messages and phone calls from friends and family.
“That shot gave me a lot of confidence,” Goodson said. “Just to see all the coaches and players happy, it was just a great feeling.”
He was named after his godfather. “They called him ‘Meech’,” Goodson said, “and it stuck with me since I was little.”
Goodson picked Gonzaga over Oklahoma and Texas A&M, even though the latter two are closer to home. Goodson’s older brother, Mike, a running back at Texas A&M, has decided to bypass his senior season to make himself eligible for the NFL Draft.
Goodson said he liked GU’s campus, players, and coaches, as well as the school’s tradition of producing standout point guards.
Goodson’s attention is squarely on North Carolina, which features splendid point guard Ty Lawson.
“I can’t be thinking about that shot when I’m trying to guard him,” Goodson said.
Head coach Mark Few isn’t worried about Goodson’s focus.
“He was in the gym, shooting with (Jeremy) Pargo, when I came down here (on the players’ day off) Sunday,” Few said. “He’s as competitive as any athlete we have.”
Schumacher has seen it firsthand. He left coaching after 17 years in the prep and college ranks after Goodson’s senior season and one of the benefits has been seeing more Zags’ games. He took his family to GU road games at Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine.
“I talked to his mom, Yolanda, and she and Mike are trying to get to Memphis for Meech’s game,” Schumacher said. “I’m trying to get there. It’s about a nine-hour drive. That’s been the hardest part for his family and friends, not being able to see him play that much. But we’re excited and looking forward to Friday.”
Meanwhile, Goodson seems content living in the moment. About a half hour before practice Monday, he was re-enacting his game-winning shot, a runner from the left side of the lane.
“Hey, I told you, I practice it,” Goodson said.
Junior guard Matt Bouldin, who hyper-extended his knee in the second half Saturday, practiced Monday with no apparent problems. He said his knee is a little sore, but it’s nothing serious.
The knee was taped during a timeout and he didn’t miss any court time Saturday.