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The Emergence of “Point Good” Could Be Huge for SLU’s NCAA Hopes

When Yuri Collins went down in the first minute against Rhode Island, the prospect of losing the former St. Mary’s Dragons point guard seemed like it could be a crippling loss for a SLU team trying to play its way back into at-large contention after a month-long COVID break. Though Saint Louis has plenty of guards, Collins is the team’s only true point guard, with the exception of freshman walk-on Phillip Russell, and losing Collins and his 6.4 assists per game is a huge blow to the Billikens offense. 

Enter Point Good.

Jordan Goodwin is the best player and unquestioned leader of the Billikens and he has taken the reins of the SLU offense in Collins’ absence and in the process, stepped his game up to new heights. In the three games since Collins went down with an ankle injury, Goodwin has averaged 15 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals per game, while posting a sparkling 58% true shooting percentage and only turning the ball over three times. These are clearly absurd numbers any way you slice it. Goodwin has been all over the court, devouring rebounds, hounding ball handlers, distributing the ball, getting to the rim with ease, and even hitting stepback three pointers. While these games came against URI, Fordham and La Salle, Goodwin is playing like the A10 Player of the Year right now and it’s allowing Collins to get his ankle fully healthy without being rushed back. 

For SLU going forward, a huge question is whether Goodwin can sustain this type of performance when Collins returns, moving him back to the shooting guard position he has played most of the year. Goodwin has been much more careless with the ball when playing alongside Collins, averaging 3 turnovers a game in the 11 games before Collins’ injury. 

If SLU is to be the very best version itself, it’s going to have to play essentially a two point guard offense. Collins is the team’s floor general, the best passer in the A10 and maybe even the country, but Goodwin needs to be thinking like a point guard as well. If SLU has a healthy Yuri Collins and Jordan Goodwin both thinking like point guards, distributing the ball, attacking in the P&R and limiting turnovers, there aren’t many teams in the country that can beat them. Travis Ford is going to have to find ways to integrate Collins back in the lineup while maintaining Goodwin’s “Point Good” form, which is a problem that any coach would love to have. 

SLU finds itself in a unique spot, having established itself as a top 25 team in non conference play, only to go on COVID pause for a month and then come back and immediately lose to the only two teams Fordham managed to beat this year. However, the Billikens seem to have regained their pre-COVID form and are angling to be in position for the at-large bid everyone expected them to get at the start of the year. As SLU primes itself for the homestretch, the emergence of “Point Good” could play a huge role in SLU’s success going forward.

Jack Godar covers Saint Louis University for A10Talk. He is a St. Louis native who grew up rooting for SLU, but is a graduate of College of the Holy C...